Legal Eagles

The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation might not have brought Amanda and Jim Manning together as a couple, but the man for whom it was named has loomed large in both attorneys’ lives ever since they were college students.

For Amanda, who graduated summa cum laude from Campbell University in 2012, Mr. Sullivan was an inspirational figure as she pursued a career dedicated to creating a more just and ethical society. “I took the honor of receiving the Sullivan Scholarship very seriously,” said Amanda, who earned her bachelor’s degree in English before receiving her J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law. “I remember learning about Algernon Sydney Sullivan and posting information about him and his legacy on the wall over my desk at Campbell, and I continued to remind myself of his legacy as a law student. I did this as a motivation to keep moving forward as I studied, both as an undergraduate and as a law student, because I did not want to let him down and wanted to use my education and talents to help others as a productive, contributing member of society.”

Today, Amanda continues Mr. Sullivan’s legacy. Just as he once served as an assistant district attorney, she is currently a prosecutor in the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office on Long Island, New York, one of the largest D.A. offices in the U.S.

this photo shows Amanda Manning as a scholar

Amanda Manning, a Sullivan Foundation scholarship recipient, graduated summa cum laude from Campbell University in 2012.

The Sullivan Ideal
Amanda was studying law at UNC when she met Jim Manning, then a law student at the University of Virginia School of Law. Jim had his own Sullivan connection—he had earned the Sullivan Award while an undergraduate double-majoring in Math and Statistics at the University of South Carolina. Like Amanda, whom he married in 2015, he graduated summa cum laude and had a passion for justice and community service.

Also like Amanda, Jim’s connection to Sullivan didn’t end with the award. He is presently a Litigation Associate at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in New York, the law firm founded by the foundation’s namesake in 1879.

“Winning the Sullivan Award was the highlight of my time at South Carolina,” Jim recalls. “Unlike Campbell, we did not have a Sullivan Scholarship, and the Sullivan Award was billed as the award given to the top male and female graduate each year based on academic performance, service and moral character. I remember how nervous I was at Awards Day my senior year, waiting for the announcement. It was such an honor to be selected by the faculty for that most prestigious award, and I have displayed the medallion on my desk ever since.”

Both Jim and Amanda lived up to the Sullivan Foundation ideal as servant leaders in their undergraduate and law school years. As a Student Government senator and Chief Justice of the Constitutional Council at USC, Jim said, “I fought to ensure that the Finance Codes retained a non-discrimination clause, further promoted equality by sponsoring legislation amending the role of a senator to include protecting the rights of all students, and proposed a series of amendments to revitalize the Constitutional Council.”

Jim Manning earned the Sullivan Award at the University of South Carolina, where he also graduated summa cum laude.

As president of the Residence Hall Association, he worked directly with hall governments to plan charities benefiting groups including a local food bank, women’s shelters and the American Cancer Society. “At every juncture,” Jim said, his passion for politics, service and leadership afforded him “the chance to support others in pursuing their passions.”

Community service was a major part of Amanda’s student life as well. She also served on the Student Government Association at CU and as chapter president of the Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society. Her strong interest in ethics—she completed her Honors thesis on Emmanuel Kant’s deontological (duty-based) ethics—led her to a career in criminal law and her current position in the Nassau County D.A. Office’s Appeals Bureau. Amanda primarily works on appeals taken by defendants who have been adjudicated guilty, arguing cases before appellate courts such as the Appellate Division, Second Department, in New York City.

“I found criminal law particularly interesting,” she said, “because it’s an area where ethical lawyering is of especially great importance and where prosecutors are charged with the special task of working toward public safety while doing so in a fair and just manner. During law school, I supplemented my studies by working as a comparative criminal law research assistant for a professor at the law school and as an intern at a district attorney’s office in North Carolina.” Through these experiences, Amanda came to appreciate “that a prosecutor’s discretion about whether to bring charges and how to pursue them plays a critical role in seeking and serving justice for victims of crime and society as a whole.”

For his part, Jim first learned about Sullivan & Cromwell when he won the Sullivan Award at USC—and he never forgot about it. Upon graduating from law school, he was drawn to Sullivan & Cromwell “in part due to the fact that Mr. Sullivan established the firm,” he said.

Like its founder, Sullivan & Cromwell is committed to giving back to society, Jim noted. “An important aspect of being an attorney is providing pro bono legal services to those who cannot afford access to a lawyer,” Jim said. The firm last year devoted more than 63,000 hours to pro bono service, and Jim himself has argued two appeals cases before the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division—the same court in which Amanda practices—on a pro bono basis. “In my experience,” he said, “Sullivan & Cromwell is committed to public service and honors Mr. Sullivan’s legacy.”


Shenandoah University Honors Two Students and a Professor With Sullivan Awards

Shenandoah University (SU) recently presented this year’s Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards to seniors Regine Bumper and Micah Earnhardt and Assistant Professor of Religion Meredith Minister.

Bumper and Earnhardt were honored at the College of Arts & Sciences Honors Ceremony in the Brandt Student Center on Friday, May 17. Minister received her award at the faculty meeting held on Friday, May 24, in Halpin-Harrison Hall’s Stimpson Auditorium.

Each year the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards are presented at 70 colleges and universities across the American South. First awarded in 1890, the award goes to individuals who are committed to creating positive change.

Regine Bumper

In addition to winning the Sullivan Award, Bumper is also a Sullivan Scholarship student. She received a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science at Shenandoah. In her time at SU, she participated in “The Laramie Project,” “The Vagina Monologues” and 411 plays for incoming freshmen and transfer students that discussed consent, alcohol usage, conflict management and more. She served a leadership role at the [Not Just] Women’s Center and as president of the Black Student Union. She also served on the BeYOUtiful campaign panel and in the Faith Seeking Justice Christian Leadership Certificate Program. She was an Alpha Lambda Delta and an Omicron Delta Kappa inductee. As a member of the volleyball team and a First-Year Seminar mentor, she had a positive impact on students in both the classroom and on the court.

Bumper has received the Department of Exercise Science Student Leadership Award and the Timothy Doak Mentor Leadership Award. She has participated in many service-learning trips, including those in Haiti, Rwanda and Uganda, where she not only helped others feel at ease, but also demonstrated leadership, generosity and optimism. “She jumps into opportunities to grow,” said an SU professor who nominated Bumper for the Sullivan Award. “She has the courage to put herself in uncomfortable situations and helps others to do the same.”

Micah Earnhardt

Earnhardt received a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and minored in gender and women’s studies at SU. One staff member said Micah’s greatest gift to the community is their personal strength. Micah was involved in Spiritual Life’s University Chapel at Noon and led through acting, reading scripture, facilitating and voicing of community prayer, and serving communion. Micah could often be found working in the Mosaic Center for Diversity as the student director and a mentor to 20 student employees in the office.

Micah excels at assisting others in understanding difficult concepts, one professor said. “Even more impressive, Micah managed to do this with grace and humility rather than a sense of superiority toward those who were learning for the first time about issues Micah had grappled with all their life.”

Minister is an assistant professor of religion who educates and inspires her students both in the classroom and beyond. It is through her supportive, motivational and caring nature that Minister encourages her students to reach their full potential. She goes out of her way to ensure that her students are successful and is always willing to meet with them when they are in need.

“Dr. Minister calls for us to open our minds to new perspectives on issues such as death, sex, gender, religion and life, and she shows us that a change of heart is not always a quick process,” one of Minister’s students said.