Sloan Johnston ’04 is the winner of the 2004 Brian M. Sax Prize for Excellence in Clinical Advocacy. For the last four semesters, Johnston has dedicated herself to advocating for two Death Penalty Clinic clients on death row in California and Alabama. Under the supervision of Professors Elisabeth Semel and Charles Weisselberg, she has interviewed clients and witnesses and conducted factual investigation and legal research of the highest caliber. Johnston’s efforts have won her the unqualified praise of her supervisors, fellow students and private practitioners.
Honorable mentions were awarded to clinic students Hilary Armstrong ’04, Sarah Barnes ’04, Aaron Burstein ’04 and Kristin Madigan ’04. Armstrong was recognized for her multi-forum advocacy on behalf of survivors of domestic violence and welfare recipients in the Domestic Violence Clinic and the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC). Barnes initiated groundbreaking work at the EBCLC, including filing and successfully arguing the first-ever complaint on behalf of homeless youth before the Berkeley Police Review Commission. Burstein undertook high-level advocacy with the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic, involving technical standard setting in the context of digital rights management and treaty negotiations in the World Intellectual Property Organization. Madigan conducted a thorough investigation of the incidence of forced labor in the U.S., which led to the International Labor Organization commissioning the International Human Rights Law Clinic to undertake its first formal study of the issue.
The awardees will be recognized at The Sax Prize award luncheon honoring all clinic students on Thursday, April 15. The Sax Prize is given annually to a graduating student who has demonstrated excellence in advocacy and professional judgment on behalf of clients in a Boalt Hall clinic. The award was established in memory of Boalt Hall lecturer Brian M. Sax ’69.