On March 2, the Kline School of Law’s two-week celebration of diversity and inclusion culminated with an awards reception honoring members of the community for their work at the school and in the Philadelphia legal community.
Nadeem Bezar, a partner at Kline & Specter and long-time adjunct professor at the law school, received the Thomas R. Kline School of Law Diversity Champion Award in front of a crowd that included family, colleagues, and the law school community.
In his remarks, the attorney spoke about embracing the values passed on to him from his parents, physicians who started a medical clinic in a tough neighborhood in New York City and treated people who often had no means to pay. “They taught me the value of taking care of people who can’t take care of themselves,” he said.
Bezar began his career prosecuting “sophisticated medical negligence cases and tragic incidents” but shifted his practice to focus on helping kids and young adults who have suffered physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.
When Bezar mentioned the honor to his parents, his father said to refer to it as a recognition, not an award, and “insisted that broad inclusion should not be applauded but should be expected.”
The student recipient of the Thomas R. Kline School of Law Community Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award, 2L Jonah Santiago Pagan, embodies that same spirit. Before calling Pagan to the podium, Dean Daniel Filler praised the student for his role in creating a welcoming community. “If you see a smile, or you see someone feeling comfortable in their place, Jonah is almost always there,” he said. “Before I knew Jonah’s name, I knew who Jonah was.”
Pagan is President of LALSA and Chair of Diversity and Inclusion for the Student Bar Association. He played an instrumental role in organizing the Kline School of Law’s diversity celebration, which included a flag festival, discussions on intersectional feminism as well as diversity in the legal profession, and recognition of veterans.
“I’m grateful for the award not because I’m getting this recognition but because it’s showing everyone here that it’s something that’s so important, something that we all need to think about,” said Pagan.