Columbia Law School Student Honored for Work with Domestic Violence Victims

Columbia Law School, Davis Polk & Wardwell Join Forces to Help Nonprofit Sanctuary for Families

New York, October 2, 2013— Columbia Law School student Rosie Wang ’14 took a break from the books on Sept. 30 to accept an award for her work with domestic violence victims. Wang, New York’s Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, and a law firm partner were honored Sept. 30 by the Law School, Davis Polk & Wardwell, and Sanctuary for Families, a nonprofit organization devoted to assisting victims and their children. 

As the 2013 Maryellen Abely Fellow, Wang spent her summer working on family and matrimonial law cases involving victims of domestic violence, including drafting motions for financial assistance to help clients keep abusers away from their children. She was recognized at a ceremony at which Lippman, and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld partner Samidh Guha received awards for their dedication to making a difference in the lives of victims.
The annual awards and fellowship honor the memory of Maryellen Abely ’87, an alumna of Columbia Law School and an associate at Davis Polk and one of the first pro bono attorneys at Sanctuary’s Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services. Abely died in 1995 after a long battle with cancer.
Rosie Wang '14 and Judge Jonathan Lippman
This year’s awards were presented by Judith S. Kaye, New York’s former chief judge, and Dorchen A. Leidholdt, the director of Sanctuary for Families and a lecturer at the Law School. Columbia Law School Dean for Social Justice Initiatives Ellen P. Chapnick also made remarks at the ceremony.
Each year, Sanctuary for Families recognizes the recipients of The Abely Award for Leading Women and Children to Safety and The Abely Pro Bono Achievement Award, as well as the Columbia Law School student selected as the Maryellen Abely Fellow. As part of the fellowship, selected students spend a summer interning at the Sanctuary’s Legal Center.
Wang, who has participated in the Sexuality and Gender Clinic and serves as submissions editor for the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, is also volunteering at Sanctuary for Families this fall, helping Mandarin-speaking sex-trafficking victims apply for visas.
“I'm honored to be receiving the Abely Award, as my summer internship with Sanctuary for Families reaffirmed my commitment to working with victims of gender-based violence in New York City,” Wang said. “The immediacy of the need for direct legal services is real and I feel privileged to have the opportunity to both hear and help tell people's courageous stories in their search for justice.”