In March, more than 400 students, alums, faculty, staff, and friends of the Law School gathered at the annual BLSPI auction, one of the Law School’s most highly anticipated events, to raise over $45,000 for Brooklyn Law Student Public Interest (BLPSI) initiatives, including food, clothing, and blood drives, community service trips, and most importantly, the BLSPI Public Interest Law Fellowship Program. Each year, approximately 20 students are selected by BLSPI for the coveted fellowships which provide funding for summer internships at public interest organizations that would otherwise be unpaid.
One of this year’s auction co-chairs, Michael Berman ‘12, is a past recipient of a BLSPI fellowship and spoke about the importance of the auction and of BLSPI as a student organization. “I was honored to be chosen as a BLSPI Fellow last year. It was really a defining moment for me in terms of being recognized for my past work in public interest law and also to feel connected to so many others at Brooklyn Law School who share these ideals,” Berman said.
Brooklyn Law School’s commitment to students pursuing careers in public interest jobs is a long-standing and integral part of its history. BLS’ graduates continue to obtain positions at top government agencies and non-profit organizations in New York and around the world. By providing funding to BLSPI fellows each year, the organization helps to ensure that BLS graduates will continue to be leaders in the field for decades to come.
Elizabeth Kowell ’12, a second-year student at BLS who attended the auction for the first time said she was really excited to be there. “It’s great to see so many people out supporting BLSPI and there are a lot of really great items to bid on,” she added.
Items bid on during the night included dinners with popular professors and distinguished alums, trips to the Caribbean and Hawaii, BarBri gift certificates, autographed sports paraphernalia, and many other items. Numerous local businesses and restaurants lent their support by offering their goods for the bidding. Students got into the act as well - Randy Allen ‘12, both a law student and an aspiring personal chef, auctioned off a gourmet meal to the highest bidder.
As in years past, the highlight of the evening was the chance to share dinner with Brooklyn’s own “Los Tres Geraldos” Geraldo Rivera ‘69, criminal defense attorney Gerald Lefcourt ‘67, and BLS Practitioner-in-Residence Professor Gerald Shargel ‘69. The winning bid of $1,300 came from Finn Dusenbery ‘12, an aspiring defense attorney.
The auction got competitive as students tried to outbid for meals and trips with their favorite professors. “My friends and I are already in a bidding war for dinner with Professor Baer,” said Dan Cohen ‘12. But aside from a few rounds of heated bidding, the atmosphere was collegial, with attendees excited to participate in the excitement of the auction and help BLSPI raise funds to continue its substantive support of public interest legal work.
View photos from the auction.