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Baylor Public Interest Legal Society Receives National Achievement Award for Public Interest

November 5, 2014

Baylor Public Interest Legal Society Receives National Achievement Award for Public Interest

WACO, Texas -

The American Bar Association’s Law Student Division recognized the Baylor Public Interest Legal Society (BPILS) with the National Achievement Award for Public Interest.


BPILS, as it is affectionately known at the law school, is a service-oriented organization which exists to serve Baylor Law School and the Waco community in facilitating the involvement of students in public interest institutions and programs. The Society coordinates and encourages the efforts of students, faculty and administration in promoting public interest issues on campus and in the community. BPILS also assists students in obtaining internships, externships, and employment in public interest fields in coordination with Baylor Law School’s faculty and administration.

Warner
Baylor Law Professor and Baylor Public Interest Legal Society (BPILS) Faculty Advisor Bridget Fuselier.

This award is a tremendous achievement for BPILS, which was created by two Baylor Law students in 2007, Brandon Kinard and Josh Borderud. The officers – Hannah Brewer, Monica Litle, Frances Marshall, Bethany Rumford, Amanda Sanchez, Valancy Sissons, Grace Stafford, Erin Toolan, Jessica Trussell, and Lindsey Van Osdell – work tirelessly to further the mission Kinard and Borderud started.

A major event coordinated by BPILS is Baylor Law School’s Adoption Day. Since 2007 Professor Bridget Fuselier, who is also BPILS faculty advisor, has led the initiative in pairing Baylor Law students with the local community adoption process. "I really wanted to do something to make this a special celebration for these families and get our law students involved at the same time," said Fuselier.

Her passion for adoption began as a practicing attorney volunteering to finalize adoptions in Beaumont, Texas, and when Kinard and Borderud approached Fuselier looking for a new project to adopt, Adoption Day was a perfect fit. Baylor Law joins with the nationwide effort to call attention to the 129,000 foster children awaiting adoption in the United States and to rejoice with all loving families that adopt.

"These children were dealt a pretty unfair hand in life. They did not ask to be born into these situations, but these foster and adoptive parents have shown such love and support for these children and have chosen to make them part of their forever family. Giving like that to children is the best thing someone can do for them. I always think about the children whose adoptions I've worked on and how that truly changed their lives. It's a wonderful moment that I'm honored we can be a part of," said Fuselier.

And the celebration continues at Baylor Law now eight years later. This year BPILS expects 26 children to be adopted at Adoption Day scheduled to take place on Friday, Nov. 21 at the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center.

Consistently for the past seven years, 40 to 50 Baylor Law students participate in gathering donations from local businesses in the community, creating gift baskets for the families, decorating, and hosting the event.

"Practicing law is not just about the law part, there's a big human part to what we do as well. Adoption Day is where you see a very direct impact on someone's life and future by what we have been able to do. At Baylor Law, we believe ‘to whom much is given, much is expected’ and the students continuously rise to that occasion by volunteering and hosting events like Adoption Day," said Professor Fuselier.

To support this event giving directly to Adoption Day or assisting in funding gift baskets, please contact Bridget Fuselier at Bridget_Fuselier@baylor.edu.

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