Clinical Law Prof Blog

Editor: Jeffrey R. Baker
Pepperdine University
School of Law

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Professor Lisa Bliss Receives the 2014 Shanara Gilbert Award

Eighteen years ago, the clinical teaching community lost one of its most exceptional young talents.  Shanara Gilbert was a brilliant professor at CUNY Law School and the founder and co-director of that school’s Defender Clinic.  Each year, the AALS Clinical Section honors an emerging clinician who embodies the passion and commitment to teaching, service, and social justice that characterized Shanara’s incredible work. 

It is both an honor and an exercise in humility for me to sit as a member of the AALS Clinical Section’s Awards Committee.  From a group of remarkable candidates, the Committee selected Georgia State University School of Law Professor Lisa Radtke Bliss as this year’s winner of the Shanara Gilbert Award.  Today, Professor Marisa Cianciarulo’s shared the wonderful news of Lisa’s selection with the LawClinic listserv:

The Executive Committee of the AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education is pleased to announce that Professor Lisa Radtke Bliss, Associate Clinical Professor, Director of Experiential Education, and Co-Director of HeLP Legal Services Clinic at Georgia State University College of Law, has been selected as the 2014 recipient of the AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education's Shanara Gilbert Award. The award will be presented to Lisa during the luncheon on Monday, April 28, at the Clinical Legal Education Conference in Chicago.        


The Shanara Gilbert Award honors an "emerging clinician," with ten or fewer years of experience who has (1) a commitment to teaching and achieving social justice, particularly in the areas of race and the criminal justice system; (2) a passion for providing legal services and access to justice to individuals and groups most in need; (3) service to the cause of clinical legal education or to the AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education; (4) an interest in international clinical legal education; and (5) an interest in the beauty of nature (desirable, but not required).


Lisa’s nomination was supported by many of her academic and professional colleagues throughout the country and the world.  Lisa's work and commitment as a teacher, scholar, and advocate more than fulfill the letter and the spirit of the Shanara Gilbert award criteria. In her particular, her ground-breaking work in developing the medical-legal partnership at HeLP (Health Law Partnership); her service as a member of the Executive Committee of the AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education; her leadership as Director of Experiential Education at Georgia State; the clinical legal education training and workshops she has provided at law schools in Thailand, Myanmar, and Vietnam; her great love and respect for the beauty of nature; and her significant impact as a teacher, advocate and scholar demonstrate that Lisa is, as one recommender said, “the total package in the spirit of Shanara herself."

Lisa is truly a source of inspiration to the many of us who know her.  In advance of next week’s ceremony at the AALS Clinical Conference, congratulations, Lisa, on receiving the 2014 Shanara Gilbert Award!

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