Sary Udashkin ’13 was recently named an Outstanding Law Student Award recipient by the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL). Udashkin is the sole BLS student to receive the award, presented annually to one standout student per graduating class from participating ABA-approved schools. Winners also receive a one-year NAWL membership.
“I was so excited to discover that I had been named the winner for Brooklyn Law School,” she said. “The award came in the mail, with no prior notice, so it was a beautiful surprise, especially during bar study.”
Those selected for the honor share noteworthy strengths, according to NAWL, including demonstrated academic achievement, contributions to the advancement of women in society, and a record of leadership. While nomination methods vary, it was a letter from Professor Jones-Woodin that drew the award committee’s attention. “I am extremely grateful to her for nominating me,” Udashkin said.
The honor caps a distinguished academic career defined by public service. A self-described “feminist since [she] was seven years old,” Udashkin seized the opportunity to assist women through several BLS student organizations. Among them were the Courtroom Advocates Project, where she helped victims of domestic violence obtain orders of protection against their abusers, and the Fair Hearings Representation and Assistance Project, where she aided clients in maintaining their public assistance benefits.
Udashkin went on to launch the Immigrant Visa Assistance Project at BLS, created to help physically abused women obtain immigration relief. She also served as co-chair for the National Lawyers Guild BLS chapter, for which she helped oversee the Street Law pro bono project. Her internships included the Brooklyn Family Defense Project, the New York Legal Assistance Group’s Domestic Violence Clinic, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, and the Urban Justice Center’s Peter Cicchino Youth Project.
“Winning this award reminded me that my work during law school was important,” Udashkin said. “It proved to me that the pro bono projects that I became involved in have a real impact on the profession. I am also really excited to join the community of law students from around the country who share this award with me.”
With bar exam studying now behind her, Udashkin said she plans to pursue a career in family law – specifically, working with women who have been the victims of violence. “Throughout law school, the majority of my clients have been women who have survived violence,” she said. “This work, these clients, and the advocates who faithfully and passionately do this work continually drive me and inspire me.”