Law school honors two for promoting diversity in legal community
Two words are often used to describe the late Professor Starla Williams: accountability and service.
Each year in memory of Williams, the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) honors a student and an alum in an effort to recognize their efforts to promote diversity within the legal community.
This year Rachel Hadrick ’13 and John Harris, a third-year law student, were chosen to receive the Starla J Williams Service Award.
Hadrick, currently an associate at McNees, Wallace and Nurick, LLC in the litigation and insurance group, has displayed a passion for service both while she was in law school and in her professional career.
“I want to challenge all of the lawyers and law students to use this profession to make an impact on the world,” Hadrick said. “I think given the time we are living in right now lawyers can play a critical role and that is what I have tried to do. I feel so honored to be a part of this profession.”
Harris, who plans to graduate in May, also serves as the president of BLSA, and is a pupil in the Lipsitt Inn of Court and James S. Bowman Inn of Court. He also volunteers as a mentor at the Nativity School in Harrisburg.
“It is important for law students to engage in the community to build trust,” said Harris. “In impoverished and urban communities there is a stigma that lawyers are detached and are only interested in financial gain. Lawyers are considered one of the oldest profession, which is inspiring. Being active in furthering the community will inspire others to maximize their potential.”
Professor Mary Kate Kearney added that since BLSA was established more than 25 years ago on the Widener Law Commonwealth campus the student organization has played a significant role both academically and in service life.
“On the academic side the organization boasts members who have graduated at the top of their class and service in positions of distinction in every one of our honor societies,” Kearney said. “On the service side there probably has not been another organization that has done more community outreach than BLSA.”