STANFORD, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law at Stanford Law School has awarded the National Public Service Award to Bryan Stevenson for his work challenging unfair criminal justice practices on behalf of poor and disenfranchised communities in the south and the Miles L. Rubin Public Interest Award to Lynne Echenberg ‘02 for her advocacy for foster care youth in the Bronx. Both recipients were honored last night at a ceremony on the Stanford campus.
“Mr. Stevenson’s work challenging bias against the poor and people of color in the criminal justice system, especially those on death row, and Ms. Echenberg’s creation of sustainable solutions for foster care youth transitioning to adulthood have transformed the lives of hundreds if not thousands of people,” said Diane T. Chin, associate dean for public service and public interest law and lecturer in law. “Bryan and Lynne serve as an inspiration to law students and lawyers through their commitment and dedication. We are delighted to acknowledge their work through these awards.”
The National Public Service Award is designated for an attorney, whose work on behalf of the public has had national impact, and the Miles L. Rubin Public Interest Award is given to a Stanford Law School alumnus/a who has demonstrated courage in challenging social inequity and promoting positive solutions for social change. The recipients were chosen by committees that included former Secretary of State Warren Christopher ’49; William Neukom ’67, past president of the American Bar Association; Todd Rubin, a member of the Rubin family who helped establish the Miles L. Rubin Public Interest Award; Larry Kramer, Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean; and Chin.
Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), was honored for his extraordinary work securing relief for dozens of condemned prisoners, advocating for poor people, and developing community-based reform litigation aimed at improving the administration of criminal justice. Stevenson has been representing capital defendants and death row prisoners in the Deep South since 1985 when he was a staff attorney with the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia. Since 1989, he has been executive director of the EJI, a private, nonprofit law organization he founded that focuses on social justice and human rights in the context of criminal justice reform in the United States. EJI litigates on behalf of condemned prisoners, juvenile offenders, people wrongly convicted or charged, poor people denied effective representation and others whose trials are marked by racial bias or prosecutorial misconduct. He also is on the law faculty at New York University School of Law.
Lynne Echenberg is creator and director of the Next Generation Center (NGC) in the Bronx, New York. She has devoted her legal career to at-risk youth in one of the most underserved and disparaged communities in the nation. While working for the New York City Administration for Children’s Services and Bronx Family Court, Echenberg became acutely aware of the challenges faced by youth aging out of the foster care system. She recognized they needed much more help than what the legal system was set up to provide. So when she was asked by The Children’s Aid Society to develop a program to help teens transition to independent living, Echenberg eagerly signed on to head the Next Generation Center. The NGC provides youth leadership and life skills training, technology instruction, job readiness and job development services, educational guidance and tutoring, legal advocacy, housing assistance, creative and visual arts, and recreation to young people, ages fourteen to twenty-four. In addition, NGC helps provide access to medical and dental services through the nearby Children’s Aid Society Family Center. Echenberg earned her JD from Stanford Law School in 2002.
“Lynne Echenberg is an inspiring example of how passionate individuals can make meaningful and sustainable improvements in the lives of vulnerable communities,” said Todd Rubin, a member of the selection committee and a member of the Rubin Family who helped make the award possible. “We are delighted to name her this year’s Miles L. Rubin Public Interest Award recipient and thrilled to honor her work.”
The awards were established in 2006 by the Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law as part of its mission to raise awareness about the importance of public service. The awards are given annually to individuals who exemplify a commitment to public service, provide models of practice that are interesting and innovative, and who make a contribution to the overall public interest legal field.
“These awards reflect Stanford Law’s fundamental values–that public service should be a central part of students’ lives, whatever their career paths, and an essential part of the school’s culture,” said Dean Larry Kramer.
About the John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law
The mission of the John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law at Stanford Law School is—through courses, research, pro bono projects, public lectures, academic conferences, funding programs, and career development—to make public service a pervasive part of every law student’s experience and ultimately help shape the values that students take into their careers. It also engages in programming and research that supports development of the public interest legal community and increases access to justice.
About Stanford Law School
Stanford Law School (www.law.stanford.edu) is one of the nation’s leading institutions for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business, and high technology. Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, produce outstanding legal scholarship and empirical analysis, and contribute regularly to the nation's press as legal and policy experts. Stanford Law School has established a new model for legal education that provides rigorous interdisciplinary training, hands-on experience, global perspective and focus on public service, spearheading a movement for change.