April 2, 2009
Professor Ron Whitener to Receive the 2009 M. ShanaraGilbert Award!
From Carol M. Suzuki, Associate Professor of Law, University of New Mexico School of Law
The Executive Committee of the AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education is proud to announce that Professor Ron Whitener from University of Washington has won this year’s M. Shanara Gilbert “Emerging Clinician” Award. Professor Whitener is Assistant Professor of Law and the Director of the Tribal Court Criminal Defense Clinic at University of Washington School of Law, where he has been teaching in the clinical program since 1999.
Through the Tribal Court Criminal Defense Clinic, Ron Whitener has made access to justice a reality for countless clients and has helped to train a new generation of advocates for American Indians. For many American Indians, the Tribal Court Criminal Defense Clinic is the only source of representation for those facing criminal charges because tribal courts are not required by law to provide legal representation. Professor Whitener saw this pressing need, started this clinic, and has helped to expand its reach through fundraising. In addition, Professor Whitener has helped to build the clinical program at University of Washington and has been a resource to other clinical programs. Professor Whitener also is an engaged scholar, authoring or co-authoring three journal articles focused on legal and health issues affecting American Indians.
Professor Whitener is actively involved in American Indian legal issues. He began his career as Legal Counsel to the Squaxin Island Tribe, of which he is a member, and he has done lay advocate and other legal training for nearly a dozen other tribes in addition to direct representation of clients. He frequently speaks about treaty rights, tribal jurisdiction, and other legal issues affecting American Indians. He has also promoted international clinical legal education efforts through his collaboration with the Afghan Legal Educators Program, a program of the Asian Law Center at the University of Washington. Afghan law faculty participating in that program visited tribal courts and attended meetings with faculty and students in the Tribal Court Public Defense Clinic.
The M. Shanara Gilbert Award will be presented at the Conference on Clinical Legal Education at a special ceremony on Friday, May 8, at 9:00 a.m., in Cleveland, Ohio. The Award is for a recent entrant into clinical legal education who has demonstrated all or some of the following qualities:
1) a commitment to teaching and achieving social justice, particularly in the areas of race and the criminal justice system;
2) an interest in international clinical legal education;
3) a passion for providing legal services and access to justice to individuals and groups most in need;
4) service to the cause of clinical legal education or to the AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education; and
5) an interest in the beauty of nature.
This year, as in past years, the Section’s Awards Committee had a very difficult task, choosing among many incredible and superb nominees. The Executive Committee would like to thank the Awards Committee for its work in the selection process: Gordon Beggs (Cleveland State); Deborah Epstein (Georgetown); Miye Goishi (UC-Hastings); Zelda Harris, Acting Chair for this Award selection (Arizona); and Peter Joy, Chair (Washington University) (please note that Peter Joy did not participate in the deliberations or selection for this Award due to a conflict of interest).
We look forward to seeing you in Cleveland and honoring Professor Whitener for his creativity in addressing a pressing legal need for an underserved community and his outstanding contributions to clinical legal education.
April 2, 2009 | Permalink
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