Ellen Chapnick Receives Pro Bono Award



-- Dean for Social Justice Initiatives receives
the Father Drinan Award --

New York, NY - Ellen Chapnick, the Dean for Social Justice Initiatives at Columbia Law School, 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, the former Dean of Boston College Law School and a faculty member at Georgetown since 1981. He served in the United States Congress as a Representative from Massachusetts and is a prolific scholar and longtime human rights activist, serving on the Board of Directors of the International League for Human Rights, the Lawyer's Committee for International Human Rights and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, among many others.

"It is particularly meaningful to me that the award is named after Drinan," said Dean 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."

Dean Chapnick, a thirteen-year veteran of Columbia Law and the founder of its Social Justice Initiatives program and its 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 U.S. and abroad regarding democratic governmental institutions, legal education and civil society. Her other awards include Sanctuary for Families' Abely Pro Bono Achievement Award, Legal Aid Society of New York's award for outstanding pro bono publico 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 January 7, 2005.