The Brian M. Sax Prize for Excellence in Clinical Advocacy was established in memory of the 1969 Law Building alumnus by his family, colleagues, and friends following his death in 1997. It honors Sax’s enthusiasm for the practice of law and his dedication to teaching. The Sax Prize, initially a $500 award, was increased to $1000 in 2006. It is given each spring semester to a graduating student who, during his or her law school career, has displayed excellence in advocacy and professional judgment on behalf of clients in a Berkeley Law in-house or faculty-sponsored clinic. The first prize was given in 1998, and the names of each year’s recipients are inscribed on a plaque located in the lobby of Simon Hall and posted here.
Faculty and students submit nominations to a four-person committee that consists of Ronald G. Aronovsky ’80, one of Sax’s former law partners, along with clinical and non-clinical faculty members selected by the dean. In reaching its decision, the Brian M. Sax Prize Committee considers the applicants’ oral and written advocacy skills, their demonstrated commitment to the zealous representation of their clients, and their reflections on the lawyer’s role within the profession and society.
“I feel so lucky to have been a part of this joyful public-interest community, one that takes care of each other and celebrates small wins, while understanding the context: we only have work to do because cruel and unequal systems exist.” — Meredith Huang ’23
Meredith Huang ’23 is the winner of the 2023 Brian M. Sax Prize for Excellence in Clinical Advocacy for her outstanding work in the Policy Advocacy Clinic (PAC) and the Death Penalty Clinic (DPC). At PAC, Meredith worked on statutory research, legislative drafting, and analyzing ancillary issues and was instrumental in securing funding for youth and community participation in the campaign. At DPC, she worked at the intersection of state and federal habeas law, including preparing for an evidentiary hearing, supporting investigation for clemency proceedings, and researching ways beyond direct representation to pause or stop executions.
Maya Fegan ’23 is the winner of the Sax Prize Honorable Mention for her excellent work in the East Bay Community Law Center’s Health and Welfare Clinic and the Clean Slate Clinic. Maya took on a wide variety of cases on behalf of adults and children with disabilities in areas such as housing, SSI, CAPI, and IHSS., focusing on cases involving clients facing mental health and cognitive issues.