Date Chartered: 5/31/1999

Purpose

The Section on Pro Bono & Access to Justice promotes the communication of ideas, interests and activities among members of the Section and makes recommendations to the Association on matters concerning Pro Bono & Access to Justice. 

Leadership     Section Members

 

AALS Pro Bono Honor Roll

The Pro Bono Honor Roll acknowledges and highlights the pro bono work of individuals engaging in, expanding, and/or supporting their law school community in providing pro bono legal services. Each law school may select up to three people to be included in the Pro Bono Honor Roll each year: one staff member, one faculty member, and one student. Fewer than three people may be selected but no more than one person is each category may be selected in a given year. A form is circulated each fall through the AALS Section discussion list.

See the Pro Bono Honor Roll online: https://www.aals.org/awards/pro-bono/

Annual Section Awards

The Section on Pro Bono & Access to Justice presents three awards at the AALS Annual Meeting: The Lifetime Achievement Award, Access to Justice Award, and Emerging Leader Award. Award details and deadlines for submission are circulated to Section members through the Section listserv each fall.

  • Access to Justice Award

The AALS Pro Bono & Public Service Opportunities Section Access to Justice Award honors those who manage Pro Bono Programs and who have removed barriers to justice and/or improved legal services to individuals unable to pay for such services.

Who may be nominated: Any Dean, faculty, or staff at an AALS member school who has designed or managed a pro bono program.

Evaluation factors may include some or all of the following:

    • If the nominee manages a Pro Bono Program, what has been the impact of the pro bono program on clients, the surrounding community, and law students/law school?
    • How has the nominee increased awareness of the role law students and lawyers should play in addressing the justice gap?
    • How has the nominee otherwise advanced the access to justice movement?
    • How has the nominee addressed systemic access to justice issues?

 

  • Emerging Leader Award

The AALS Pro Bono & Public Service Opportunities Section Emerging Leader Award honors early‐to‐mid career staff or faculty who have made an outstanding contribution to pro bono and public service in the law school setting.

Who may be nominated: Faculty or staff at an AALS member school who have been working in a pro bono/public service role at a law school for approximately two to six years.

Evaluation factors may include some or all of the following:

    • Leadership (How has the nominee inspired others to act?)
    • Program design/management (How has the nominee created opportunities for others to serve?)
    • Scholarship (How has the nominee advanced, deepened, or disseminated the discourse around pro bono and/or public service?)
    • Innovation (How has the nominee changed the way pro bono and/or public service is taught, practiced, or treated?)
    • Impact (How has the nominee impacted access to justice in the law school or broader community?)
    • Personal pro bono service (How has the nominee set an example of pro bono service?)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award

The AALS Pro Bono & Public Service Opportunities Section Lifetime Achievement Award honors those who have significantly advanced pro bono and public service in the law school setting over the course of their career.

Who may be nominated: Any Dean, faculty, or staff at an AALS member school

Evaluation Factors:

Length of career/service in a law school setting

Nominators can discuss how the nominee has significantly advanced pro bono and public service in the law school setting through examples of some or all of the following:

    • Leadership (How has the nominee inspired others to act?)
    • Program design/management (How has the nominee created opportunities for others to serve?)
    • Scholarship (How has the nominee advanced, deepened, or disseminated the discourse around pro bono and/or public service?)
    • Innovation (How has the nominee changed the way pro bono and/or public service is taught, practiced, or treated?)
    • Impact (How has the nominee impacted access to justice in the law school or broader community?)

Personal pro bono service (How has the nominee set an example of pro bono service?)

 

Recipients

Year Award Name Recipient Law School
2024 Access to Justice Award Becki T. Kondkar Tulane Law School
2024 Emerging Leader Award Darcy Meals Georgia State University College of Law
2024 Lifetime Achievement Award Catherine Greene Burnett South Texas College of Law Houston
2023 Access to Justice Award Stephen Rispoli Baylor University School of Law
2023 Emerging Leader Award Deborah Schlosberg University of California, Berkeley School of Law
2023 Lifetime Achievement Award Russell Engler New England Law | Boston
2022 Access to Justice Award Ryan Sullivan University of Nebraska, College of Law
2022 Emerging Leader Award Allison Constance University of North Carolina, School of Law
2022 Lifetime Achievement Award Marjorie McDiarmid West Virginia Univeristy College of Law
2021 Deborah L. Rhode Award Erwin Chemerinsky University of California, Berkeley School of Law
2021 Father Robert Drinan Award Pamela Robinson University of South Carolina, School of Law
2020 Deborah L. Rhode Award Aviam Soifer University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law
2020 Father Robert Drinian Award Laurie Barron Roger Williams University School of Law
2019 Deborah L. Rhode Award Vivian Neptune Rivera University of Puerto Rico School of Law
2019 Father Robert Drinian Award Louis Rulli University of Pennsylvania Law School
2018 Deborah L. Rhode Award Angela Drake University of Missouri School of Law
2018 Father Robert Drinian Award Thomas Schoenherr Fordham University School of Law
2017 Father Robert Drinian Award Paolo Annino Florida State University
2016 Deborah L. Rhode Award James H. Rosenblatt Mississippi College School of Law
2016 Father Robert Drinan Award Janet Weinstein California Western School of Law
2015 Deborah L. Rhode Award Gerald Lopez University of California, Los Angeles School of Law
2015 Father Robert Drinan Award William P. Quigley Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
2014 Deborah L. Rhode Award Mathew Diller Benjamin Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University
2014 Father Robert Drinan Award Linda McGuire University of Iowa College of Law
2013 Deborah L. Rhode Award Douglas A. Blaze University Tennessee College of Law
2013 Father Robert Drinan Award J.P. “Sandy” Ogilvy The Catholic University of America,
Columbus School of Law
2012 Deborah L. Rhode Award Claudio Grossman American University Washington College of Law
2012 Father Robert Drinan Award Christine Smith University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law

The Section on Pro Bono & Access to Justice offers regular Educational Enrichment seminars and hosts Community Conversations on a variety of topics. Invitations to attend are circulated through the Section discussion list and posted in our newsletter.