Public Interest Law Student of the Year - UW Law School
The State Bar’s Public Interest Section encourages attorneys to provide public interest services, promotes public interest issues, and enhances the viability and visibility of public interest law. It presents four awards recognizing law students, legal workers, and lawyers.
The Public Interest Law Student of the Year is awarded for a demonstrated commitment to working in the public interest and helping others. It recognizes exceptional public interest volunteer work or activism in the community, the community at large, or the law school community. One student is honored from U.W. Law School and one from Marquette Law School.
This year’s recipient is Crystal Stonewall, a law student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At just 23 years old, Crystal already sports a highly impressive CV with numerous examples of her sincere commitment to be a “change agent, an interpreter of the law, an advocate of legal rights, a representative of the ‘invisible,’ and a voice for the voiceless.”
Crystal’s passion for serving others was cultivated at a young age, long before she enrolled in law school. Raised on the Southside of Chicago, Crystal shared in an October 2020 interview with the Wisconsin Alumni Association, “As a Black young woman from Chicago, I’ve witnessed poverty, food deserts, and lack of political representation.” Thus, even as a busy law student and a member of the University of Wisconsin’s prestigious Law Review, Crystal maintains close ties to her hometown, devoting countless volunteer hours to Chicago public schools, the Chicago Public Library, and her alma mater, Chicago International Charter School. She does so because of her strong belief that “it’s important for kids to see someone who came from the same place as them.”
In addition to advocating for the youth of Chicago, Crystal has advocated for her classmates as a Co-Executive Director for the Black Law Student Association at UW, and as a member of the University of Wisconsin Student Advisory Board for both the Dean of Students Office and the School of Education. She’s also pushed for systemic change in higher education through her collaborative work in 2020 with the University of Wisconsin Systems’ General Counsel on “Pass the Harasser” sexual misconduct policies and legislation.
Crystal also holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and is certified to teach in Wisconsin and Illinois. She graduated valedictorian from Chicago International Charter School Wrightwood in 2011. With a background in education and law, and a passion for serving under-represented individuals that gets stronger with each passing year, the committee wholeheartedly agrees that Crystal is the epitome of a “change agent” and a natural pick for the “Public Interest Law Student of the Year.”
Watch the presentation of the Public Interest Law Student of the Year Award