Shelby Adams is receiving the Salmon P. Chase Award of Chase College of Law for 2023 as the graduating student whose law-related volunteer work best represents the spirit of advocacy Salmon P. Chase displayed as a lawyer before his political and judicial careers.Like Chase, who as a Cincinnati lawyer in the mid-1800s advocated for the powerless, Ms. Adams has worked diligently on behalf of children and for impoverished adults in the criminal justice system.
At the Children’s Law Center, a not-for-profit law firm in Covington, she sought out educational and housing opportunities to help resolve problems some children and teens faced. With the Hamilton County (Ohio) Public Defender, she defended individuals who were unable to afford a lawyer. In the Chase Constitutional Litigation Clinic, she represented incarcerated individuals in claims of denied rights.
Ms. Adams brought with her to Chase a motivation, shaped by her childhood in rural Appalachia, to become a lawyer to be able to help and protect individuals marginalized in society. Following graduation and admission to the bar, she will continue her pursuit of equal representation as a staff lawyer with the Hamilton County Public Defender.
The Salmon P. Chase Award is being presented to Ms. Adams during commencement, May 5 in Truist Arena on the Northern Kentucky University campus. The 2023 commencement coincides with the eightieth anniversary of the naming of Chase College of Law, which had been founded in 1893 as the YMCA Night Law School, after Salmon P. Chase, who served as Governor of Ohio, United States Senator from Ohio, Secretary of the Treasury in the Abraham Lincoln administration and Chief Justice of the United States.