Monday, September 12, 2016

Sandy Cohen History Lesson: The Sandy Cohen Public Defender Fellowship!


Very cool things were happening surrounding The O.C. phenomenon during the early 00's. Some of which have been rumored about throughout the years or were thought of as just O.C. legends. The following O.C. legend your about to read was very true.

boalt the o.c. sandy cohen fellowship

In the fall of 2003 John Kim (class of 2004) of The Berkeley Law at the University of California started The Sandy Cohen Public Defender Fellowship for Lawyers who Dare to Dream also known as "The Sandy". The O.C. premiered on Fox during the summer before John's final year of law school, he saw in “The O.C.” and thought it was everything missing from law school life in general: glamour, romance, and visionary lawyering. He decided that other law students might feel the same and organized the club as soon as school began again. It was one of the largest clubs at UC Berkeley with a total of 75 members!

boalt the o.c. sandy cohen fellowship

The Fellowship was inspired by no other than the man himself Sandy Cohen of The O.C..Sandy Cohen graduated from Berkeley Law school and was seen as a public defender in the early season one episodes. Sandy Cohen used his keen selfless public defender skills and rescued Ryan Atwood from his poor life in Chino.

boalt the o.c. sandy cohen fellowship

The fellowship was created to help summer law students who provided public defense on a volunteer unpaid basis. Each year one or more student would be chosen for their wonderful charitable attitude and work ethic. The winning students would receive or split a cash prize of 3,000-5,000 dollars which was donated by Fox, Warner Brothers, Peter Gallagher and the Boalt Totally Awesome Prom Fundraising Event.

boalt the o.c. sandy cohen fellowship

This Fellowship went on for three years, with each year Peter Gallagher stopping by to present the award to the winning students and hanging out to sign autographs etc.

boalt the o.c. sandy cohen fellowship
Jason Balitzer accepting his award in 2004 with actor Peter Gallagher that plays Sandy Cohen in The O.C.

The first winner was Jason Balitzer in 2004. In 2005 Ronnie Lin was the winner and lastly in 2006 there were five total winners, Ruth Mackey, Joey McInnis, Rachel Pfeiffer, Loriani Santos and Van Swearingen!

boalt the o.c. sandy cohen fellowship

The Sandy Cohen Fellowship was loved by the media and was mentioned on Entertainment Weekly, The Jimmy Kimmel Show, The New York Times and even the official Fox O.C. website. Peter said “I think this club is amazing. They aren't lampooning [Sandy] as an impossible dreamer missing out on a fat paycheck. Instead, they are encouraging people to do the right thing.”

boalt the o.c. sandy cohen fellowship

Members of the fellowship would also meet every Thursday to get their O.C. on, watching the latest episode, gossiping about what would happen next, all the while eating snacks! Furthermore the fellowship would also host O.C. related parties throughout the year.

boalt the o.c. sandy cohen fellowship
John (guitar), Iiona (keys), Anne (bass) and Captain Oats on drum machine

There was even an official band of the fellowship called "Orange Crush" who formed in December 2003. "Orange Crush" played at O.C. club meetings and wrote all original fun O.C. songs. This hot three piece plus Captain Oats on drum machine was a force to be reckoned with. With catchy hits such as "Anna Face" and "Summer Come Over" all of which can be downloaded here!

boalt the o.c. sandy cohen fellowship

Peter Gallagher said in the Oakland Tribune: "I love the fact that [the OC at Boalt] are encouraging people to go into the public defender's office, and the fact that it happens to be based on a character I play is all gravy. I think this club is amazing. They aren't lampooning [Sandy] as an impossible dreamer missing out on a fat paycheck. Instead, they are encouraging people to do the right thing."

boalt the o.c. sandy cohen fellowship
boalt the o.c. sandy cohen fellowship

boalt the o.c. sandy cohen fellowship

boalt the o.c. sandy cohen fellowship

boalt the o.c. sandy cohen fellowship

boalt the o.c. sandy cohen fellowship

boalt the o.c. sandy cohen fellowship

The Sandy Cohen Public Defender Fellowship only lasted a little while but the memories and lives changed in the process will remain priceless! What a cool experience that had to be! Cheers to all the future Sandy Cohen PD's of the world who Dare to Dream!

This post was just liked via Twitter by the man himself Sandy Cohen aka Peter Gallagher!


For more check out boalt.org
Photos provided by boalt.org