John Rafferty '12
Villanovan Wins Super Lawyers Award
When John Rafferty ’12 learned he was one of eight recipients of the newly created Super Lawyers Pro Bono Awards, he wondered if the selection committee had confused him with someone else. To those who know him, this honor is not surprising. But John doesn’t view his public service work as particularly extraordinary—it is simply what he has been called to do.
As a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, John witnessed the horror of human trafficking first-hand. He chose to fight injustice by becoming an attorney who could be a voice for those who had none. John chose Villanova University School of Law, known for its commitment to serving the disenfranchised through promoting social justice, to prepare him to battle the injustices of trafficking.
Working to change what he saw overseas, John is dedicating his time and legal talents to anti-trafficking advocacy and training worldwide. While at Villanova, John completed over 300 hours of unpaid pro bono service, including devoting spring and winter breaks to service. Among his numerous outreach efforts are work with the U.N. International Organization for Migration’s Anti-Human Trafficking Team in Quito, Ecuador, and pioneering a program with the Philadelphia Anti-Trafficking Coalition.
While John is “honored and humbled” to receive this award, the satisfaction of helping others is the ultimate reward. “I recognize that this honor is a reflection of the public interest spirit embodied by the students here at Villanova,” he said. “I came to law school because of my frustration with a broken system that makes foreign workers employed in low-wage sectors vulnerable to force, fraud and coercion. When I am helping others feel valued and cared for through my own sacrifices of time and money, I know that I am sharing a love that has the power to change the world.”
“John Rafferty exemplifies what it is to be a true Villanovan,” said John Gotanda, Dean of the Law School. “At Villanova we are committed to promoting the common good, and we encourage our students to play an active role in positively shaping the world around them. Where others might have turned a blind eye to the atrocities that he saw, John used his experiences as an impetus for change. These are the type of individual actions that have become synonymous with our students. ”
The eight recipients of Super Lawyers Pro Bono Award include practicing attorneys, law firms, law students and law programs. The winners were chosen by a review committee that evaluated each application based on legal effort, personal contribution, inspiration, future effort, time frame, obstacles and innovation. Law students and law programs were evaluated on the additional factors of community outreach and leadership. Each winner also receives a cash award and editorial coverage in a 2012 edition of a Super Lawyers magazine, also published on superlawyers.com.