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Rossman ’19 Wins Award for Innocence Work

Her efforts to free a wrongly convicted man was recognized by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

Photograph by Joshua Dalsimer

Lauren Rossman ’19, who as a student in the BC Law Innocence Program helped win the reversal of a Springfield man’s murder conviction earlier this year, received the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s student Adam Pro Bono Publico Award at a ceremony Oct. 24 in the John Adams Courthouse. Three career attorneys also received the award for service in other  sectors.

Rossman was recognized for dedicating hundreds of hours to volunteer work over the course of her law school career, including her extensive efforts on behalf of Christopher “Omar” Martinez, who by the time of his release had served nearly 20 years for a crime he didn’t commit.

As Rossman said in a BC Law Magazine article about Martinez’s case, “The more we investigated, the more we realized this was a huge miscarriage of justice. I kept thinking: Every moment I’m not working on this case, he’s just sitting there, waiting for you to do something.”

“Lauren’s commitment to freeing her innocent client has been inspiring for our community on campus and beyond,” said Michelle Grossfield, public interest and pro bono program director at BC Law. “Her dedication and relentless pursuit of justice not only resulted in an innocent person’s freedom from incarceration but has served as a reminder of the failings of our criminal justice system and the responsibility those involved bear to prevent such an atrocity.”

“The Adams Pro Bono award is meaningful to me because it celebrates lawyers who demonstrate that pro bono work should not be viewed as a basic requirement,” Rossman said, “but rather as a rewarding and self-imposed obligation that fulfills our purpose as human beings. I feel truly honored to be recognized alongside such incredible pro bono attorneys.”

She is currently a legal fellow and staff counsel at the Committee for Public Counsel Services Innocence Program.

Rossman was not the only person from BC Law to be recognized at the ceremony. Ten Law School students were named to the SJC’s 2018 Pro Bono Honor Roll.