May 15, 2023

Elizabeth Faris Receives Oliver White Hill Law Student Pro Bono Award

Elizabeth Faris portrait.Elizabeth Faris of the George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School class of ‘23 has been awarded the 2023 Oliver White Hill Law Student Pro Bono Award.

Administered by the Committee on Access to Legal Services, the award was established to honor extraordinary law student achievement in the areas of pro bono and under-compensated public service work in Virginia.

Before attending law school, Faris spent five years in Honduras as a volunteer teacher and later as a program director at Cofradía’s Bilingual School. She also founded a bilingual program at a local school called Garden School Victoria.

After returning to the U.S., Faris began law school at George Mason with a focus in immigration law. At Mason, she participated in two pro bono clinics: the Immigration Litigation Clinic and the Mason Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic (M-VETS). Through the Immigration Litigation Clinic, Faris worked on pro bono asylum cases and represented an asylum seeker in immigration court. Through M-VETS, Faris provided pro bono assistance to servicemembers and veterans with civil and military law issues.

During law school, Faris continued to volunteer for Cofradía’s Bilingual School as director of scholarships and used her Spanish-language skills to volunteer as a translator at monthly asylum clinics sponsored by Just Neighbors—a nonprofit providing high-quality legal services to low-income immigrants, asylees, and refugees. She also interned with the Capital Area Immigrant Rights (CAIR) Coalition, assisting detained noncitizens with immigration cases.

In their joint nomination letter, Immigration Litigation Clinic Co-Directors Emily C. Lopynski and Rebecca R. Wolozin praised Faris’ strong work ethic and noted that Faris has already logged over 400 hours of pro bono work this year alone.

“Liz was an impressive clinic student, a joy to work with, and will be an excellent lawyer,” Lopynski and Wolozin wrote. “She is most deserving of this award.”

Each award recipient is asked to choose a quote that best sums up their viewpoint on the world, and Faris chose a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’”

Faris will graduate magna cum laude from the George Mason Law School on May 19. Following graduation, she will serve as a judicial law clerk for the Board of Immigration Appeals through the Department of Justice Honors Program. Faris will receive her award during the VSB Annual Meeting at the Access to Legal Services 30th Anniversary Dinner on June 15.