Nevada Supreme Court Justice Douglas Honored at PILA Auction that Raised Several Thousand Dollars for Summer Public Interest Grants

Fri, 03/15/2013

PILA AuctionThe Public Interest Law Association (PILA) chapter at the UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law completed its 14th annual fundraiser auction on Feb. 22.

Ana Goldes, PILA Vice President in charge of the auction, said that while the figures weren’t yet official, the count of attendees totaled between 200 and 250 people, who combined to raise approximately $19,000. 

Jessica Perlick, President of PILA, said that while the figures weren’t yet official, an estimated 200 attendees raised approximately $18,000.

“I thought [the event] was really successful. We did get a lot of compliments on the overall feel of the event,” Perlick said. “What we tried to do this year was make it more of an event. We had centerpieces to help brighten [the tables] and we created a vignette for each of the items so that it wasn’t just a gift card on a table.”

One of the event highlights was the annual PILA honoree. The honor, given by PILA to a community member who embodies the values of the organization, went to Justice Michael Douglas of the Nevada Supreme Court this year.

Douglas, who was the first African-American to become a Nevada Supreme Court justice, spent a big portion of his early career in the public service sector, Perlick noted.

Goldes said that the executive board of PILA was firmly behind this nomination.

“The E-board gets to nominate who they think would be a great candidate and hwne Justice Douglas came up we all thought it was a good pick,” she said. “So we brought it to a vote and that was it.”

The money raised at this event goes toward grants for law students’ public interest work over the summer. Applications for these grants have gone out and winners should be announced in April.

Perlick added that the event required the help of a lot of people over the course of months.

“There was probably at least five people who worked on the auction at all times and another 10-15 people who were helping out where they could,” she said. “We started the planning process in early August. We rented out the space in September and started looking for cash donors in October.”

Once the event date was set, it was time to collect items for the auction itself. Perlick said she was pleased with the results.

“We really rely on our membership to get items for the auction. The members would go to businesses we frequent and see if anyone wanted to donate,” she said. “The professors are always really generous, so it was just a matter of getting the message out to them.”

PILA is dedicated to promoting public interest law and pro bono work in the legal community. The UNLV chapter, Perlick said, serves in many ways, one of the most notable being its work with the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada to reach out to the homeless.

“We do a lot of good work with just providing legal information to the homeless population,” Perlick said. 

Approximately 70 silent auction items, 12 live auction items and 35 student-only auction items were made available this year.

“I want to be sure to thank Dean [Frank] Durand and Dean [Nancy] Rapoport for their talented and entertaining auctioneering,” Goldes said, “and I want to continue to encourage attendance [of the auction] in the future.”