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74% of RWU Law 1L students come from outside of Rhode Island.  There are 22 states represented in the Class of 2017 alone.

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Champions for Justice

THANK YOU for the tremendous support of the first annual Champions for Justice dinner and auction. We appreciate all of your contributions to support the experiential and pro bono service programs that connect RWU Law students to communities in need.

Champions for Justice

An event to shine a light on RWU Law students and alumni and celebrate their dedication to serving low-income and disenfranchised communities in New England and around the country. We recognize the impact and applaud the accomplishments of our Champions for Justice award recipients.

Proceeds from the evening benefit the many social justice programs within RWU Law:

  • Public Interest Summer Stipends
  • Alternative Spring Break
  • Public Interest Externships
  • Pro Bono Collaborative
  • RWU Law Clinics

Champions for Justice 2015 Event Photos

Presenting Sponsor Dinner Sponsor Reception Sponsor
Mandell Schwartz Hinckley Allen AP&S

Committee & Board

2015 Event Committee
Kimberly Ahern, Esq. ’09
Jamie J. Bachant, Esq. ’12
James J. Bagley, Esq. ’12
Cecily V. Banks, J.D.
Laurie Barron, J.D.
Alyssa V. Boss, Esq. ’97
Robert P. Brooks, Esq.
Kate Clarke-Dawe ’15
Kas R. DeCarvalho, Esq.
Diana deGroof, Esq. ’03
Joseph A. Farside, Esq. ’06
The Honorable Robert G. Flanders, Jr.
Kate Gannon ’15
Amy H. Goins, Esq. ’12
Benjamin D. Gworek, Esq. ’09
Meghan L. Hansen, J.D.
Jenna W. Hashway, Esq. ’11
Suzanne Harrington-Steppen, J.D.
Andrew Horwitz, J.D.
Kara Humm, Esq. ’08
Carly Iafrate, Esq. ’00
Matthew Jerzyk, Esq. ’08
Jessica S. Jewell, Esq. ’10
Patrick T. Jones, Esq.
Dadriana A. Lepore, Esq. ’10
Michael J. Moloney, Esq. ’09
Valerie Morozov, Esq. ’14
Robert Pirri, Esq. ’97
Andrew Spacone, Esq.
Elizabeth A. Suever, Esq. ’07
Arlene Violet, Esq., Trustee
Eliza Vorenberg, J.D.
Peter B. Wilbur M’06 

School of Law Board of Directors
The Honorable William E. Smith, Chair
Kimberly Ahern, Esq. ’09
Kenneth E. Arnold, Esq.
Nicole J. Benjamin, Esq. ’06
The Honorable Ronald A. Cass
The Honorable Edward C. Clifton
Donald J. Farish, Ph.D., J.D., President
Michael W. Field, Esq. ’97
The Honorable Francis X. Flaherty
Linn Foster Freedman, Esq., Trustee
Mark Gemma. Esq. ’97
Constance A. Howes, Esq.
Patrick T. Jones, Esq.
Mark S. Mandell, Esq., Trustee
Howard A. Merten, Esq.
Stephen M. Prignano, Esq.
James Ruggieri, Esq.
George L. Santopietro, Esq.
The Honorable Bruce M. Selya, LHD ’02
Stephen J. Shechtman, Esq.
Robin G. Steinberg, Esq.
The Honorable Patricia A. Sullivan
The Honorable Paul A. Suttell, LHD ’11
Hinna Mirza Upal, Esq. ’07
The Honorable Netti Vogel
Ed Weiss, Esq.
Joseph D. Whelan, Esq., Trustee
Michael J. Yelnosky, Dean


Honors the 2015 Champions...

2015 Champion for Justice

 Linn Foster Freedman
Linn Foster Freedman

Attorney Linn Foster Freedman is an expert in health care law, privacy and security law and complex litigation. She is a partner and leader of the Privacy and Data Protection group as well as the HIPPA Compliance group at Nixon Peabody LLP, where she advises healthcare providers. In addition to her considerable professional prowess, Linn has devoted tremendous time and energy advocating for access to justice in Rhode Island. She introduced Nixon Peabody LLP to the Pro Bono Collaborative (PBC) and oversees the firm’s provision of pro bono legal assistance to those served by the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless. Linn serves on the PBC Advisory Board and Annual Event Host Committee. She initiated the creation of an ad hoc Access to Justice working group of attorneys and now serves on the Rhode Island Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission, established in 2014. Linn serves on the Roger Williams University Board of Trustees and the Roger Williams University School of Law Board of Directors.

Community Partner Champion

Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS)
Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS)

The Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) houses not only the Public Defender Division, which is the statewide public defender for Massachusetts, but also the Youth Advocacy Division, the Children and Family Law Division, and the Mental Health Litigation Division. Lawyers in the Fall River and New Bedford Public Defender Division offices have been mentoring RWU Law students – and hiring RWU Law graduates – for over a decade. In addition to robust participation in RWU Law’s Externship Program, the Public Defender Division in Fall River has hosted RWU Law students for Alternative Spring Break for the past two years. This year, students will be hosted by both the New Bedford and Fall River offices for an immersive spring break experience. Many students have had externships in both the Youth Advocacy Division and the Children and Family Law Division, and students have participated in externships in Southeastern Massachusetts as well as in Boston, Brockton, Northampton, Roxbury, and Worcester.

Alumni Public Interest Champion

Deborah Gonzalez
Deborah Gonzalez

Attorney Deborah “Debbie” Gonzalez specializes in immigration law, family law, divorce, child custody and child support issues at her practice, Gonzalez Law Offices Inc. Debbie has dedicated her entire career to the service of others. As a law student, she was a standout in the Criminal Defense Clinic and upon graduation began her tireless work with the local immigrant community. Debbie has been an active volunteer in the Pro Bono Collaborative and its recent efforts to assist unaccompanied immigrant children. Of Brazilian heritage, Debbie volunteers her time with the mobile Brazilian Embassy when they travel to Rhode Island. She also founded The Brazilian Information Center in 2008, an organization that provides the Brazilian and Portuguese communities with legal information. Debbie is a 2004 graduate of Roger Williams University and a 2007 graduate of Roger Williams University School of Law. She was a Visiting Assistant Professor and Acting Director of the Immigration Law Clinic from 2012 to 2014.