Big-time Law School auction benefits public-interest work

Published February 19, 2013

From a glamorous vacation in Belize to the try-your-luck "Tree o’ Plenty," the stage is set for SUNY Buffalo Law School’s biggest fund-raising auction.

The 18th annual BPILP Auction, sponsored by the Buffalo Public Interest Law Program, raises money to support students who take unpaid public-service internships during the summers of their Law School program. The auction is scheduled for 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, at Pearl @ the Webb, 76 Pearl St. in downtown Buffalo. Tickets, at $35, are available at the Law School.

The auction, which draws students, faculty and staff from the Law School as well as members of the Western New York legal community, raised over $35,000 last year. That money funded fellowships for about a dozen Buffalo Law students who worked in court, government and non-profit agency positions last summer.

“Law students need the experience, and these agencies need the help but can’t afford to pay students for their work,” says Bradley Loliger, a third-year law student who serves as president of BPILP. “This helps bridge the gap.”

Loliger, who will graduate with a joint degree in law and social work, himself received a BPILP fellowship two years ago to enable his work with Legal Services for the Elderly, Disabled or Disadvantaged of Western New York. He says that experience enabled him to return to the agency for his required social work internship and helped cement his decision to work in the public interest after graduation. He also notes that recipients of the fellowship are required to give at least 20 hours’ service to BPILP, such as selling tickets to the auction and soliciting items to be sold.

The Feb. 22 event will include food and a two-hour open bar. Besides the trip to Belize, the live auction includes such items as hotel stays, restaurant gift certificates, tickets to the Law School Commencement ceremonies and the Barristers’ Ball, $1,500 tuition credits toward the BAR/BRI bar review course, even a Dessert of the Month Club sampling and professor-turned-chef meals.

In addition to the live auction, there will be ticket auctions and raffles. At the Tree o' Plenty, attendees can spend $10 and pick a mystery gift off the tree, guaranteed to be worth their sawbuck or more.

Information is available by contacting BPILP at 645-6261 or bpilp.ub@gmail.com.