LACA Leaders

LACA Spring Dinner artwork

The Law Alumni of Color Association’s Spring Dinner emphasized the importance of community and honored those making an impact.

In March, the Law Alumni of Color Association (LACA) held its annual Spring Dinner celebration, honoring six alumni for their exceptional achievements and four current law students who received LACA scholarships this year.

In his opening remarks, LACA president Rafiq Kalam Id-Din II ’00, noted that the LACA community has been a place of support during a year of pandemic that often felt isolating. “When we were pushed further and further apart, we still reached for each other any way that we could,” said Kalam Id-Din.

Speaker Vincent Southerland, assistant professor of clinical law, recognized three recipients of the Derrick Bell Scholarship for Public Service: Jamie Hin Hon Wong ’22, Vishal Reddy ’22, and Maria Alejandra Torres ’22. This scholarship is awarded to students interested in carrying on the public service and racial justice legacy of the late NYU Law professor for whom the scholarship is named. Southerland also cited Christopher Alan Livingston ’22 as the recipient of the Rasheed M. McWilliams ’03 Scholarship, awarded to a 2L or 3L student who is actively involved in NYU Law’s Black Allied Law Students Association.

The event concluded with remarks from recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, given to alumni who have made significant contributions to the law throughout their careers, and the Rising Star Award, which recognizes recent alumni who are already making an impact in their respective fields and whose work LACA is excited to follow as they grow in their careers. “The LACA dinner is one of my favorite events of the year—it is a true family gathering,” said Breon Peace ’96, recipient of a Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award. “And it is truly humbling to be recognized by my extended family.”

Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award

Raymond Chen

Judge Raymond Chen ’94
US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit



Seema Suresh Gajwani

Seema Suresh Gajwani ’01
Special counsel for juvenile justice reform and chief of the Restorative Justice Program,
DC Office of the Attorney General


Breon Peace

Breon Peace ’96
Partner, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton




Rising Star Award

Shannon Cumberbatch

Shannon Cumberbatch ’12
Director of equity and institutional transformation,
The Bronx Defenders



Frances Davila

Frances Dávila ’16
Staff attorney, Survivors of Violence Unit,
Central American Resource Center—Los Angeles



Tsion Gurmu

Tsion Gurmu ’15
Legal manager and staff attorney,
Black Alliance for Just Immigration



Posted September 9, 2021