Wednesday, October 20, 2021
By Giovanna Deo

Every year the Equal Justice Foundation (EJF) hosts one of the most popular student-led events at Iowa Law…The Annual Law School Auction. With the auction being a time for everyone in the community to come together for a fun evening outside the classroom, it sits high on top of Iowa Law’s social calendar.

This year marks the auction’s 18th  year and it’s set to take place in person again, after being 100% online last year due to the pandemic.

“EJF is a student organization that can have a powerful impact for both Iowa Law students and communities, by raising money to support students working in summer public interest jobs. I am continuously impressed by our public interest students’ commitment and by the efforts of the EJF students to plan a fun and impactful auction each year,” shared Anya Prince, Iowa Law professor and the EJF faculty advisor.  

The event raises funds through silent and live auctions to provide stipends for students in public interest internships—from public defender's offices to nonprofit organizations and everywhere in between. Often, these internships offer little to no compensation which can deter students from pursuing them. The auction seeks to provide enough funding for student’s living expenses during the time of their internships.

Karina Dufoe, the student leader of EJF says, “The scholarships go to people who are working summer positions in non-profit organizations, public defense or prosecutors' offices, or other non-paid positions which directly work to empower, protect, and serve our communities.”

Iowa Law alum Mary Sevandal was able to work for the AIDS Legal Counsel of Chicago thanks to the summer stipend from EJF that she had received for her work. She described her feelings of relief after getting the scholarship saying, “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.”

Many professors donate exclusive events or group experiences that attendees can bid on during the auction, making it an exciting opportunity for the community to connect with faculty and their peers.

The live auction always brings creative and generous ideas from faculty and staff that bring the community together in support of students heading into public interest fields. Past auctions items include everything from a Bob Dylan evening with Professor Bauer to yoga and mocktails with Professors Bowman, Tai, and Rantanen or even an evening with a Hollywood celebrity with Professor Allen. "This year, some of the live auction items include dinner with Dean Washburn, a bike ride with Professor Crouse, and eating “miracle fruit” that affects your senses with Professors Diamantis and Grewal," shared Chloe Schumacher and Samantha Rose, the auction co-chairs.  

Professors Diamantis and Grewal are known for their “quirky” events and each year they come up with something new to donate for the live auction. Diamantis stated, “The EJF auction is my favorite event of the year. It's a time when the entire law school community gathers for good causes and good cheer. Professor Grewal and I like to sponsor quirky events. With past winners, we've communed with the spirits in my very old house, guided by the Iowa City Ghost Hunters. We've donned Viking helmets to test our mettle in an ax throwing competition, before feasting on a whole, hand-roasted lamb. This year's event will be an homage to the '60s in the form of hippified flavor-tripping party. Bring your bandanas! Bring your drums! Bring your appetite! And expect to return with lots of tie-dye.”

“While the board of Equal Justice Foundation is constantly fundraising funds for these scholarships, the Annual EJF Auction is one of our favorite ways to engage the community,” continued Dufoe.

This year’s event will take place on Friday, October 29 at 6:00 pm at The Celebration Farm. Tickets will be on sale in the lobby of the Boyd Law Building Monday and Wednesday from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. If you would like to contribute but aren’t able to donate a prize or attend the auction, you can donate though this link.