Burlington College faculty member Sandra Baird received the Pro Bono Service Award from the Vermont Bar Association at their mid-year meeting at the Hilton on March 21. The award is given annually to recognize an individual’s extraordinary efforts on behalf of the disadvantaged throughout Vermont.
Baird received the award for her work as a private attorney willing to take pro bono clients referred by Vermont Volunteers Lawyers Project and through the Burlington College Pro Se Legal Clinic. Nominated by several members of the legal community, including Angele Court of the VVLP and Chittenden County Probate Judge Susan Fowler, Baird is a lawyer, educator, and prominent civil rights activist. Fowler lauded Baird “as a strong advocate for the voiceless.”For years, Baird has been providing free legal services to a diverse population of clients through the Burlington College Pro Se Legal Clinic. She also serves at Burlington College as Chair of the Legal and Justice Studies Department at Burlington College, the Cuba Overseas Study Program, and the Institute for Civic Engagement.
One of Baird’s former students, Sandra McKernan ’13, seconded the Judge’s nomination. “Many participants of the clinic are victims of abuse or war who are seeking relief, custody of their children, or refuge.”Christine Plunkett, President of Burlington College, says of Baird’s recognition, “Demonstrating a deep understanding of the complex cultural, social and economic challenges many of these individuals face, Sandy provides guidance and a knowledgeable and compassionate voice, in and out of the courtroom. We are very proud that the Vermont Bar Association is honoring Sandy for her extraordinary work in the community.”