Drinan and Rhode Award Winners

On behalf of the AALS Section on Pro Bono and Public Service Opportunities, I am delighted to announce the winners of the Deborah L. Rhode and Father Robert Drinan Awards, selected from an impressive slate of nominees.

Deborah L. Rhode Award

Awarded to a full-time faculty member or dean who has made an outstanding contribution to increasing pro bono and public service in the law school setting through scholarship, leadership, or service, was presented to Aviam “Avi” Soifer, Dean of the University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law.

Dean Soifer received his law degree from Yale Law School in 1972. He also holds B.A. cum laude and Masters of Urban Studies degrees from Yale.
While in law school, he served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal, a director of the Law School Film Society, and a director of the Legal Services Organization. He helped to found the C.V.H. Project, representing people in Connecticut’s largest mental hospital. He clerked for then- Federal District Judge Jon O. Newman in 1972-73.

Soifer began his law teaching career at the University of Connecticut in 1973, received a Law and Humanities Fellowship at Harvard University in 1976-77, and taught at Boston University from 1979-1993. He served as Dean of Boston College Law School from 1993-1998, and continued to teach until 2003, when he became Dean of the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii.

Soifer received Boston College’s Distinguished Senior Research Award and he was appointed as a Distinguished Scholar at the University of Wisconsin’s Legal Studies Institute. His book, Law and the Company We Keep was awarded the Alpha Sigma Nu Triennial National Jesuit Book Prize in professional studies.

He has an extensive record of scholarly publications, presentations, and public service activities and he continues to teach primarily in the areas of constitutional law, legal history, legal writing, and law and humanities.

The award was accepted by Ronette Kawakami, Hawaii’s Associate Dean for Student Services, on Dean Soifer’s behalf.

The Father Robert Drinan Award

The Father Robert Drinan Award, which was presented to Laurie Barron, Roger Williams University School of Law, recognizes a professional faculty or staff member at a law school who has forwarded the ethic of pro bono service through personal service, program design or management.

Laurie Barron is the Director Feinstein Center for Pro Bono & Experiential Education. She received a B.A. from Yale University, a J.D. from New York University School of Law, and an M.S.W. from New York University School of Social Work.

Laurie was selected in recognition of her good work starting a public interest/pro bono center and building it with amazing staff, programming, and the relationships she has built with students and alums in supporting them as they embark on their public interest and other types of legal careers. 

Her previous work includes representing children at the Juvenile Rights Division of the Legal Aid Society in New York City; working as a public defender and team leader at the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem; and clinical teaching in an interdisciplinary Prisoners and Families Clinic at Columbia Law School, in a School-Based Legal Services Clinic at Rutgers-Camden School of Law, and in a Juvenile Rights Advocacy Project at Boston College Law School.

Barron directs the Feinstein Center and the Externship Program and teaches the Public Interest Lawyering seminar.

It was lovely having Laurie and her immediate and not so immediate family and friends there to honor and celebrate her – go Laurie!

Additional photos from the event are available, here: https://baylor.box.com/s/rgw63qz1uagfga8q6t962p4ocpdedf1w