Penelope Andrews and Renee Knake Jefferson Receive Deborah L. Rhode Award from Four AALS Sections

Penelope Andrews (New York Law School) and Renee Knake Jefferson (University of Houston Law Center) have been awarded the Deborah L. Rhode Award, a joint recognition by four AALS sections. 

The annual award serves as a memorial to Deborah L. Rhode, who died in January 2021 after an illustrious career in law. She was the Ernest W. McFarland Professor of Law and director of the Center on the Legal Profession at Stanford Law School. Rhode served as president of the Association of American Law Schools in 1998; was founding president of the International Association of Legal Ethics in 2010; and was the author of 30 books in the areas of leadership, professional responsibility, and gender law and public policy. 

“To have my name associated with Deborah Rhode in this way is an honor and a joy,” Andrews said. “The quintessential scholar, lawyer and teacher, Deborah was an inspiration to all who grappled with the ethical challenges unearthed in the law.”

“I’m honored to receive what is a bittersweet award for me,” Jefferson said. “Deborah was a dear friend and mentor, who left us much too soon. My scholarship, like hers, intersects ethics, access to justice, leadership, and gender, and I am grateful to be recognized in this way.” 

The Deborah L. Rhode Award is presented by the AALS Sections on Leadership, Pro Bono & Service Opportunities, Professional Responsibility, and Women in Legal Education. It is awarded annually to the law professor or lawyer who exemplifies the groundbreaking work, imagination, and inspired action of Deborah Rhode. This is the third year that the award is presented by the four sections. 

“Professors Andrews and Knake Jefferson were among many excellent nominees this year, all doing critically important work in line with Professor Rhode’s example,” said Eliza Vorenberg, chair of the award selection committee and Clinical Professor of Law at Roger Williams University School of Law. “The honorees stood out as exemplars of all the qualities that made Professor Rhode exceptional – her commitment to legal education and the legal profession, her trailblazing scholarship on pro bono, access to justice and the health of our legal systems, and her role as mentor and leader, among others. The selection committee was unanimous in choosing Professors Andrews and Jefferson for the award and we know they will continue to build upon Deborah Rhode’s legacy.” 

The selection committee for the award also included April Barton (Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University), Sande Buhai (LMU Loyola Law School), and Victoria Haneman (Creighton University School of Law). 

The award was presented at the AALS Awards Ceremony at the Annual Meeting.