Public Counsel Honors Southwestern Student Philip Hall
Second-year day student Philip A. Hall was recently honored at the 11th annual Public Counsel Volunteer Gala for his work with the organization's General Relief Advocacy Program (GRAP). "Philip is very deserving of the honor as he received our grant for last summer to work there, he is continuing the work as our current GRAP president, and he is very dedicated to both the project and the agency," said Professor Laura Dym Cohen, Director of the Street Law Clinic and Community Outreach at Southwestern.
Hall previously worked in the entertainment industry and wanted to make a career change. When he started law school, he was very interested in exploring opportunities in the public interest field. Unsure of what group he wanted to get involved with, a friend convinced him to attend a meeting for GRAP. "After the first outreach I was hooked," Hall said.
During the summer, Hall worked for Public Counsel's Homelessness Prevention Law Project (HPLP). The experience he had garnered training fellow law students while working for GRAP on campus enabled Hall to guide summer associates from local law firms in benefits advocacy and then supervise them on outreach for HPLP. During his summer at Public Counsel, he also attended meetings between Department of Public Social Services officials and the public interest organizations.
"I am honored to be receiving the award," Hall said. "It is nice to receive recognition for doing something that you enjoy and that benefits the community. To me this honor means a lot in that it recognizes the program we have built here at Southwestern. We have by far the strongest GRAP program of any law school in the area."
Hall explains that the credit for the success of Southwestern's GRAP program belongs to all of the people who contribute to it. "Our board has been phenomenal in making sure every outing is a success," he said. "Professor Cohen and the Public Service Program have motivated public interest volunteering on campus. And the lion's share of the credit belongs to our student advocates who donate their time every month to ensure that those most in need in our society receive the benefits they are legally entitled to."
Although he has not made a formal decision about which area of law he wants to practice, public interest work will always remain a priority for Hall, who said, "No matter what I end up doing, I intend to continue volunteering as much of my time as I can to serving the public interest." (Photo courtesy of the Public Counsel)