The Annual Law School Auction hosted by the Equal Justice Foundation (EJF) is one of the most popular, student-led events at Iowa Law. This year marks its 17th year. The auction has always been a top event on Iowa Law’s social calendar—a time for everyone in the community to come together for a fun evening outside the classroom.
Due to the pandemic, this year’s event will be virtual and take place 100% online. And, since the event has been pushed back from its original Fall date, it’s even more imperative to get these funds raised in time for summer.
The auction raises funds to provide stipends for students in public-interest internships—from public defender's offices to non-profit organizations and everywhere in between. Often, these internships offer little to no compensation which deters students from pursuing them. The auction seeks to provide enough funding for student’s living expenses during the time of their internship.
Many professors donate exclusive events or personal experiences that attendees can bid on during the auction. While the event will be held virtually for the first time ever this year, the community is excited at the opportunity to connect with faculty and their peers outside of the classroom.
“When I was a law student, I could not afford to work in an unpaid or low-paid summer opportunity,” says Associate Dean Adrien Wing. Wing is an annual donor to the EJF Auction in addition to Adrien K. Wing fund she started to give law students the opportunity to study abroad. “My career may have taken a different path altogether if I had been able to do so,” Wing shared. “When I became a professor, I wanted to make sure Iowa students would have options that I did not.”
Professor Ann Estin said, “My favorite way to give to the College of Law is to support the auction.” Estin is also an annual donor and outside of pandemic times typically hosts a Sunday morning champagne-and-bagel spread for her lucky bidders. “The best part for me was the chance to sit for a few hours eating and talking with the group of students who contributed to a good cause,” Estin shared.
A favorite memory of Professor Estin’s was a Sunday in January 2008, when her Contracts students ended up in the alley, helping dig out the car after a snowy bagel run at her brunch.
2021 Auction Co-Chair, Karina Dufoe shared, "While EJF is fundraising year-round for students as an organization, the Annual Auction is one of our favorite ways to get professors and students involved. Whether someone wants to bid on an experience with an Iowa Law Professor or one of the items in the silent auction–from a pair of handmade whiskey snifters or a 6-hour puppy playdate–there is just so much creativity and generosity.”
With experiences like that, it’s no wonder this event has always been a favorite. A 6-hour puppy playdate?! Priceless. Other items in the live auction include celebrity conversations, trivia, expert yoga, pizza parties, and an Iowa state fair extravaganza. Check out the full list of live auction items here.
It is all fun and games at the auction, but the funds are critical in supporting students who are headed into public interest fields and working to make the world a better place. Dufoe emphasized the importance of these funds, “This money helps students pay for housing while they are focused on serving their communities."
Iowa Law alum Mary Sevandal (‘05) remembers the summer she worked for the AIDS Legal Counsel of Chicago, “The specific things it's harder to recall those, but certainly the feelings [the experience] invoked in me, I will always remember that.”
Sevandal was relieved to receive a summer stipend from EJF for her work, stating “It is a huge weight off your shoulders to know that you're going to get a stipend from EJF. It validates the work you want to do and also addresses the fact that not everyone is willing to do this type of work.”
"Although I was incredibly eager to dedicate my 1L summer to public interest work, the prospect of not having a source of income endured in the back of my mind. Fortunately, I received assistance through the Summer Grant Program. Instead of contemplating how to remain financially stable, I was able to dedicate all my energy to my internship with the Federal Defender's Office for the Northern District of Iowa. Our communities rely heavily upon public interest organizations: students who are passionate about devoting their summer to support these organizations truly ought to be able to without financial burden. For this reason, the Summer Grant Program is indispensable," Tyler Wills, 2020 Grant Recipient & EJF Auction Co-Chair shared.
Auction Co-Chairs this year, Karina Dufoe, John Steger, and Tyler Wills, are excited to welcome everyone to this year’s event and are grateful for those joining online!
The live auction event will take place at 6:30 pm on Friday, March 26 via Zoom. Unlike previous years, tickets will not be necessary for admission. The silent auction will also be run differently, opening on EJF's Facebook page as soon as the live auction is over and running until March 30th at 5:00 p.m. (CST). Please see this year's live auction catalog on EJF's Facebook for all the details!