Megan Smiddie received the 2020 Salmon P. Chase Award of Chase College of Law during the college’s virtual commencement ceremony, May 8. The award is for a graduating student whose advocacy for others follows the tradition of Salmon P. Chase as a Cincinnati lawyer during the 1840s.
Her advocacy: Megan’s work ranged from Ohio, to Kentucky, to Costa Rica, and involved domestic violence victims, inmates and international migrants.
• In Ohio, she provided more than 300 hours of pro bono work for the Ohio Justice and Policy Center, a nonprofit, public interest law office involved in criminal justice reform. There, she worked for parole or clemency for incarcerated domestic violence victims.
• In Kentucky, she completed volunteer hours through the St. Elizabeth Healthcare System’s continuing education program on human trafficking in Northern Kentucky. In the Chase Constitutional Litigation Clinic, she argued on behalf of clients who alleged that they had been denied medical treatment or religious accommodations while imprisoned.
• In Costa Rica, she participated in an international human rights law program in which she interviewed migrants and refugees escaping human rights violations.
Her Chase experiences: Megan has been a leader in student organizations, a member of a mock trial team and a research assistant.
• The organizations: She was president of the American Constitution Society, vice president of the Chase Anti-Trafficking Association and Student Bar Association representative to the American Bar Association.
• The trial team: She speaks of competing with members of the Chase Black Law Students Association mock trial team during her 2L and 3L years as an honor for her.
• Her research role: Megan was a research assistant for Professor Jennifer Kreder in Professor Kreder’s own advocacy for the return to Holocaust survivors and heirs artwork stolen from them by Nazi Germany. Her research also involved union members’ rights and general election voting issues
The Salmon P. Chase Award: Chase College of Law created the annual award to recognize a graduating student for selfless advocacy on behalf of others. It is named for Salmon P. Chase, who was a tireless defender of runaway slaves and an opponent of slavery prior to the Civil War. He later rose to national prominence as Secretary of the Treasury under President Abraham Lincoln and as Chief Justice of the United States.