Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2007-08-30

Eddie L. Koen, Jr., a third-year student at Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, received the 2007 Alabama State Bar's Pro Bono Student Award.

The annual award recognizes a student at an Alabama law school who has demonstrated exceptional leadership and contributions to equal justice in the state.

Koen, of Huntsville, has volunteered hundreds of hours assisting lawyers from other states who represent people on Alabama's death row. His work for law firms in Chicago, Ill., Los Angeles, Calif., and the District of Columbia has included interviewing ex-jurors and conducting library research of media coverage.

Koen is 2007-08 national chair of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA), which has 200 chapters at law schools nationwide. He was BLSA's national death penalty moratorium chair in 2006-07, has been a BLSA southern region board member, and was founder of the region's law journal.

He has served as Cumberland's honor court chief justice and chair of the school's Thurgood Marshall Symposium. He is a member of 100 Black Men of Birmingham and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Koen is the son of Frances and Eddie Koen, Sr.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.