William and Mary Law School

Laura Jacobson '11 Receives 2011 Thurgood Marshall Award

  • Laura Jacobson
    Laura Jacobson
    The 2011 recipient of the Thurgood Marshall Award was Laura Jacobson.
    Colonial Photography

Graduating student Laura Jacobson received the Thurgood Marshall Award for distinguished pro bono work during the Law School’s graduation ceremony on May 15. The award goes to a member of the graduating class who exhibits the ideals of distinguished public service exemplified by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993) and who shows a powerful commitment to public service.

“Although many of our students have demonstrated a profound commitment to public service,” said Dean Davison M. Douglas, “Laura Jacobson stood out among her peers with overwhelming support in the nomination process.”

Jacobson came to William & Mary Law School with a deep commitment to public service. A fluent Spanish speaker who had spent time living in Central America, “Laura had a particular desire to serve the Spanish speaking immigrant population in Williamsburg,” said Douglas. “During her first year here, she founded a new student organization, De Vecino a Vecino (neighbor to neighbor) that addresses the educational and legal needs of that population.”

One classmate wrote of Jacobson’s work: “Through Laura’s efforts, De Vecino has given presentations on legal rights and civil liberties in Spanish; matched law students up with primary school students who need tutoring in English and other subjects; and recruited law students to help conduct intake clinics at immigration detention centers.  She has helped meet underserved needs in our community and created opportunities for law students to enrich their experience here.”