The National LGBT Bar Association’s Student Leadership Award is the organization’s highest honor for law students. The award recognizes a law student(s) who has demonstrated leadership within their school and in the surrounding community, especially in the area of LGBTQ+ equality.
The National LGBT Bar is delighted to announce that the winner of the 2020 Student Leadership Award is Ian F. Tapu, University of Hawai’i, and the first runner-up is AK Shee, University of California, Los Angeles.
Ian Falefuafua Tapu was born and raised in Hau‘ula, O‘ahu and is a graduate of Kahuku High School, Dartmouth College, and will be graduating from the University of Hawai‘i William S. Richardson School of Law this spring. While in law school, Tapu served as president of the Student Bar Association, Lambda Law Students Association, and the Pacific Islander Legal Association, which he also helped found. His advocacy efforts and community work have focused on Pacific Islanders as his family are immigrants from Samoa and Tonga. He has a passion for ensuring that legal scholarship is inclusive of Indigenous and Pacific peoples and has five articles slated for publication this year. His work has even won him the Robert Matsui Writing Competition, National Native American Law Students Association Writing Competition, and the Dukeminier Student Writing Competition. Tapu is grateful for his family, partner, and the William S. Richardson ‘ohana for being his anchor in all of his endeavors.
AK Shee (they/them/theirs) is a rising 3L student at UCLA School of Law. As a transgender student of color, AK dedicates much of their time to making law school more inclusive and supportive of LGBTQ students. In addition to being Co-Chair of UCLA’s LGBTQ student organization, OUTLaw, AK co-founded the Queer and Trans People of Color Collective to create an intentional space for students who exist at the intersection of being a queer or trans person of color—and who are minorities in almost every space they inhabit. Beyond on-campus student organizing, AK also coordinates the Let’sGo! Liberation clinic, which serves the Los Angeles community by providing free legal assistance to LGBTQ individuals seeking to change their legal names and/or gender markers. AK also currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the UCLA Law Review—holding the mantle of the journal’s first transgender Editor-in-Chief. During their 1L summer, AK worked at the Williams Institute, the nation’s leading research center on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy. This coming summer, AK will be joining the ranks of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP as a summer associate.
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First Runner-up – Andy Blevins, Willamette University
Second Runner-up – Beck Zucker, The George Washington University Law School
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Runner-up – Elizabeth Dooley, Stanford Law School
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Runner-up – Adam Chang, University of Hawaii, Manoa
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Runner-up – Ashland Johnson, University of Georgia School of Law
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