During her first year as a law student at LSU, the most hectic year of law school most students would say, Leslie Ziober single-handedly coordinated an effort to organize a group of LSU Law students to travel to Biloxi, Mississippi for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
In her second year, she arranged for another group of law students to go to Acadiana Legal Services in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where they assisted those affected by Hurricane Rita.
Now in her third year, she once again coordinated a group of law students to assist hurricane victims by arranging for a work trip to areas of the Texas Gulf Coast devastated by Hurricane Ike.
For these and other efforts, the Louisiana State Bar Association (LSBA) has chosen Leslie Ziober as the winner of its 2009 Law Student Pro Bono Award. She will be honored at the annual awards ceremony and reception hosted by the Louisiana Supreme Court on Tuesday, May 19.
“It means a lot to be recognized for the award,” Ziober said. “The LSU Law Center’s Public Interest Law Society has only been around for a few years, and when I became the pro bono chairman for PILS in 2008, we already had a great foundation of pro bono projects. I’m so glad I was able to add to that foundation, and I hope the award shows people how involved the LSU Law Center has become in pro bono work and that it can be a career-long mission to work with indigent clients.”
Every year, the LSBA selects one student from each of the four law schools in Louisiana to be honored for the Law Student Pro Bono Award. The winners are selected based on several criteria including initiation of a new program, providing leadership, and serving as a model for other volunteers. Ziober qualified on all fronts.
“Leslie combines both leadership skills—having served on the Public Interest Law Society (PILS) Executive Board for two years—and personal commitment, given the many, many things she has done to promote pro bono over these past three years at the law school,” said PILS faculty advisor Professor John Devlin.
Ziober has organized and participated in law student pro bono activities during all three years of her attendance at the LSU Law Center. During this time, she amassed more than 600 hours of pro bono service and has served in a number of roles for PILS, most recently the Chair of the PILS Pro Bono Committee. She also currently serves as the school’s Student Hurricane Network Liaison.
In addition, Ziober initiated a project this year for LSU Law students to collaborate with Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellows in the research and development of a handbook that would make the process of expunging one’s criminal record more accessible to those unable to afford attorneys to navigate such process.
“Ms. Ziober has been a role model for our pro bono efforts at the LSU Law Center,” said Chancellor Jack M. Weiss. “She has a deeply rooted commitment to service, and I am confident that her dedication to public interest will make her an even better lawyer upon graduation.”
Before attending LSU Law, Ziober earned a bachelor’s degree in communication from LSU with minors in French and business administration. She is the daughter of LSU Law graduates David and Emily Ziober of Baton Rouge.