Public Service Award Recipients
Public Service Award Recipients: Michelle Villegas ’18, Louis Clark ’77, and Tracy Davis ’01.

Nineteenth Annual Peter M. Cicchino Public Service Awards Dinner

April 12, 2018

On April 5, AUWCL hosted the Nineteenth Annual Peter M. Cicchino Public Service Awards Dinner. Each year, the program honors a current student who has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to public interest during their time on campus, as well as two alumni for their remarkable public interest work, both domestically and internationally.

The event is named in honor of a former Washington College of Law professor, Peter M. Cicchino, who passed away in 2000. Professor Cicchino was both a brilliant scholar and teacher and a brave and creative public interest lawyer.

Professor Muneer Ahmad, Deputy Dean for Experiential Education, a Clinical Professor of Law, and the Director of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School, gave the keynote address at the awards dinner. Ahmad co-directs the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic) and teaches courses related to immigration, human rights, and development. Previously, he was Professor of Law at American University Washington College of Law. Prior to joining the faculty at American in 2001, he was a Skadden Fellow and staff attorney at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center in Los Angeles. He clerked for the Hon. William K. Sessions III in the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont.

This year, 121 members of the AUWCL Class of 2018 completed the Pro Bono Honors Pledge. The class as a whole performed over 42,753 hours of pro bono work.

The 2018 awardees included:

Louis Clark ’77, Winner in Category of Alumna or Alumnus Whose Career has Spanned 15 years or more
Louis Clark serves as both Executive Director and CEO of the Government Accountability Project (GAP). Clark assumed the directorship of GAP in 1978, having first served as legal counsel for the organization. Previously as President of the organization, Clark served as a spokesperson and public ambassador for GAP, and frequently negotiated with government and corporate officials about legal cases and social reform initiatives. He has frequently met with international delegations from all over the world in order to describe GAP's methodology, the laws that are needed to protect employees who speak up about problems, and how to use information to promote progressive social change. Clark additionally oversees numerous cases involving widespread financial fraud for GAP's Corporate and Financial Accountability Program. Louis also regularly provides expert information about occupational free speech issues in academic and non-academic settings, within op-ed columns, and during speaking tours, both domestic and international. He provides strategic advice to all GAP programs, hoping to unite whistleblowers with citizens and public interest groups, government leaders, congressional committees, and the media to investigate, expose, and rectify problems. Clark received his JD from American University in 1977, where he was awarded two honorary fellowships for his work within the clinical program and in the area of prison reform. Prior to becoming an attorney, hewas a Methodist minister, and his pastoral counseling skills and training significantly influenced his career choices. He received a Masters of Divinity degree from the Pacific School of Region and his undergraduate degree from the University of Evansville. 

Tracy Davis ’01, Winner in Category of Alumna or Alumnus Whose Career has Spanned 5-15 Years
Tracy Davis is a Managing Attorney at Bread for the City, where she oversees the organization's domestic violence project. The mission of Bread for the City is to provide low-income D.C. residents with comprehensive services, including food, clothing, medical care, legal and social services in an atmosphere of dignity and respect. Previously, Davis was the Director of Legal Services at WEAVE (Women Empowered Against Violence) and Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Survivor Agency and Justice. She coordinates DV-Advocates - a monthly meeting and listserv for local advocates who represent survivors in domestic violence-related legal matters. Davis has trained law students, advocates, and attorneys locally and nationally on survivor-centered trauma-informed legal advocacy. She has a BA from the University of Manitoba, a MA from the University of Cincinnati, and a JD from American University.

Michelle Villegas ’18, Winner in Category of Current Washington College of Law Student
Michelle is an LA native and UC Davis undergrad alumna. She is the daughter of Salvadoran immigrants and the first in her family to go to law school. Prior to coming to AUWCL, Villegas worked in the field of educational equity and access with programs aimed toward youth empowerment in rural Northern California. There, she saw the dire need for understanding and competent legal counsel in the immigrant community. This pushed her to pursue a JD in order to become a resource and advocate for immigrant communities like that of Woodland, CA. During her time as a law student, Villegas has served on the board of ADVANCE, the Immigrant Rights Coalition, the National Lawyer's Guild, the Latinx Law Student Association, and taught as a fellow with the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Program at Dunbar High School. After graduation, Villegas will be working with Ayuda as a Gallogly Fellow to provide accessible, empathetic, and adept legal services to the immigrant community in the D.C. metropolitan area. As a fellow, she will focus her efforts on supporting those individuals affected by administrative attacks on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS), by providing direct representation, community education, and policy advocacy.

Pro Bono Excellence Award
Zoë Baker

Public Interest/Service Scholars (PIPS) Class of 2018
- Sarah McHenry
- Chloe Canetti
- Rupalee Rashatwar
- Karina Wegman
- Summer Woods

Post-Graduate Fellowship and Honors Program Recipients
- Lindsay Adler, Gideon's Promise
Courtney E. Cataudella, DOJ Honors
Katherine Conway, Gallogly Foundation
Alyssa D. Dunbar, DOJ Honors
Sam Escher, DOJ Honors
Thomas McNutt, Presidential Management Fellowship Finalist
Sara Pinolini, Equal Justice Works
Michelle Villegas, Gallogly Foundation
Victoria M. Garcia, DOJ Honors
Karina Wegman, Government Honors (Dept. of Labor)

View more photos via Facebook.


Peter M. Cicchino was an Assistant Professor of Law at American University Washington College of Law (AUWCL), where he taught Constitutional Law, Torts, Jurisprudence, and Sexual Orientation and the Law. He joined the AUWCL faculty in 1998 after a distinguished career in public interest law. He founded and directed the Lesbian and Gay Youth Project of the Urban Justice Center, and, in that capacity for four years, provided legal representation for lesbian and gay street youth in New York City. He also served as a staff attorney in the national office of the ACLU and clerked for Justice Alan Handler of the New Jersey Supreme Court.