Danielle Hawkes to be honored at Salt Lake County Bar Program

by Kristin Erickson

Danielle Hawkes, a 3L at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, will be honored as this year’s recipient of the Salt Lake County Bar/S.J. Quinney Pro Bono Scholarship at the SLCB’s continuing legal education luncheon on professionalism and civility, to be held on December 17, 2009 at the Downtown Marriott Hotel. Members of the selection committee noted that Hawkes has been active in pro bono service and advocacy on behalf of underrepresented populations since she started law school. They added that one of the things that set her apart from a very strong pool of candidates was her leadership in public service. While a first-year student, Hawkes was a regular volunteer at the Family Law and Guadalupe Clinics. As a 2L, Hawkes became student coordinator for the Guadalupe Clinic. As coordinator, she recruited and managed student volunteers, attended the clinic, and took many cases from the clinic under attorney supervision. She also volunteered at the Family Law and Immigration Clinics. By the end of her second year, Hawkes had reported well over 160 pro bono hours (more than three times the number required for her Pro Bono Initiative Certificate.)  She also served as the president of the Outlaws student group, which deals with LGBT issues. This year, Hawkes collaborated with bar and community leaders and the law school to co-found a new monthly low-income LGBT Legal Clinic that focuses on family, housing and employment law issues.

In addition, Hawkes believes that her concerns about under-represented groups should be reflected in scholarship. To that end, she has had two Notes selected for publication in the Journal of Law and Family Studies. The first, titled “Locking up Children: Lessons from the T. Don Hutto Family Detention Center,” discusses the federal government’s practice of imprisoning children with their parents in private for-profit facilities while they wait for immigration hearings. The second, “Elective Surgery — When Parental and Medical Opinion Supersedes a Child’s Right to Choose,” discusses controversial non-medically essential treatments, for instance cosmetic surgery for children with Down Syndrome, or child organ donation.

The Salt Lake County Bar has provided critical leadership and support to the Pro Bono Initiative since its inception, and created the Pro Bono Scholarship three years ago to recognize exceptional pro bono service by our law students.

This year’s CLE presenters are Judge Dever, Judge Peuhler, Judge Hansen and Judge Toomey.