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Public Interest Auction Breaks Fund-Raising Record

March 25, 2011

Students and faculty took a break from contracts, criminal procedure, torts and the constitution for an annual tradition that raises funds for students who spend their summers working with public-interest organizations.

The Fourth Annual Public Interest Experience Slice of Justice Auction at the World Café raised nearly $23,000, exceeding previous tallies for the fund-raising event.

This year’s bounty is expected to support more than 20 students with summer stipends, said Karen Pearlman Raab, director for public interest and pro bono programs.

The event has always relied on the capacity and willingness of faculty and students to shed their inhibitions – and sometimes their dignity – for a good cause.

This year’s auction was no different, as 3Ls Steve McManus and Aminah Shabazz, 2Ls Robert Hopkins, Sean MacPhee, Kevin Rieffel and Kristan Saubert, 1Ls Edward Kang, J.J. Luff and Katie Mooney, as well as the school’s Trial Team, took turns at the karaoke microphone.

Not to be outdone, Professor David S. Cohen and Senior Associate Dean Kevin Oates performed a version of the song "Friday" that was arguably more outrageous than the YouTube sensation created by 13-year-old songstress Rebecca Black. That duet alone raised $650.

Other top-selling auction items were a luncheon with Mayor Michael Nutter and a champagne and jazz party with professors Chapin Cimino and Donald Tibbs, which each went for $500.

The right to determine what style of beard or moustache Oates wears for six weeks brought in an additional $450. Professor Barry Furrow handily beat Senior Associate Dean Dan Filler in a competition to become a cream-pie target. Furrow raised $134 to Filler’s $66.

Filler found vindication in the loss.

"I have spent a year trying to win over my students, precisely so that they’d spend their money to pie Barry rather than me," he said.

The auction was organized by the Public Interest Experience Auction Executive Committee, which includes students, Pearlman and Associate Dean for Experiential Learning Susan L. Brooks.