|Dean Ellen Chapnick|
Ellen Chapnick, dean of Social Justice Initiatives at Columbia Law School, recently received the Father Drinan Award at the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) 2005 annual meeting in San Francisco. The Drinan Award is one of two given by the AALS Section on Pro Bono and Public Interest Opportunity, and recognizes "an individual, whether full-time faculty or not, who has forwarded the ethic of pro bono service through personal service, program design or management."
The award is named for Father Robert Drinan, former dean of Boston College Law School and a faculty member at Georgetown Law Center since 1981. A former Congressman, Drinan is also a prolific scholar and longtime human rights activist, serving on the board of directors of the International League for Human Rights, the Lawyers Committee for International Human Rights and the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense and Education Fund, among many others.
"It is particularly meaningful to me that the award is named after Drinan," said Chapnick. "He is one of my heroes because he has consistently demonstrated integrity and humanity in a tireless effort to achieve peace with justice in the U.S. and abroad."
Chapnick is a 13-year veteran of Columbia Law, where she founded the Social Justice Initiatives program and the Center for Public Interest Law. She initiated and ran the mandatory pro bono program at the Law School, one of the first in the nation. Currently, she develops and implements projects to prepare public interest, government and human rights lawyers of the future. She also furthers Columbia's participation in the United States and abroad in democratic governmental institutions, legal education and civil society. Her other awards include the Sanctuary for Families Abely Pro Bono Achievement Award, the Legal Aid Society of New York award for Outstanding Pro Bono Public Service and the Pro Bono Students America award for Best Law School Public Interest Program.
Columbia Law School Dean David Schizer presented the award on behalf of the section on Jan. 7.