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News: Alumni Updates

Lisa Krisher, '78, Wins NLADA Award!

Monday, August 26, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Joe Libertelli
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Lisa Krisher Low Income Advocacy ImageCongratulations to Lisa Krisher, '78, Director of Litigation for the Georgia Legal Services Program, who has been named the 2013 Kutak-Dodds Prize winner by the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA).  GA Legal Services Executive Director Phyllis Holmen wrote,

"I am proud to announce that Lisa has been awarded the very prestigious Kutak-Dodds Prize for 2013 by the National Legal Aid and Defender Association. This honor puts Lisa in the pantheon of the best legal services lawyers in the country. The award recognizes Lisa for her personal vision and commitment, the innovation of her work, and the impact of her successes, all achieved in the challenging circumstances presented by the rural south burdened by entrenched poverty and ongoing civil rights problems.

Lisa will receive this award at a dinner sponsored by NLADA on September 19, 2013, in Washington DC, at which awards will also be presented to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Terri McClure, General Counsel of UPS, based here in Atlanta.

It has been my personal privilege and delight to work with Lisa for these many years, and I am grateful for all she has done for justice in Georgia and to fight for equality, opportunity, and the elimination of poverty. Thanks to each of you, as well, as our board members who yourselves embody and fight for these values of justice and equality."

Kutak-Dodds Prize

Established in 1989 and presented each year at NLADA's Annual Dinner in Washington, DC, the Kutak-Dodds Prize honors an equal justice advocate "who, through the practice of law, has contributed in a significant way to the enhancement of the human dignity and quality of life of those persons unable to afford legal representation." The award is jointly sponsored by NLADA and the Robert J. Kutak Foundation and carries a cash prize of $10,000. Beginning in 2001, two prizes are given each year, one for exceptional work in civil legal aid and the other for outstanding service in public defense. The Kutak-Dodds Prize is named for the Late Robert J. Kutak, a member of the first Legal Services Corporation Board and the late Kenneth R. Dodds, former partners in the Omaha office of Kutak Rock. Bob Kutak dedicated his career to public service and legal education, and Ken Dodds was well known for his life-long interest in providing legal services to the disadvantaged.

For nomination information,click here.

Past recipients include:

  • 2012 - Abigail Turner, Legal Aid Justice Center, VA
    Kim Dvorchak, Colorado Juvenile Defender Coalition
  • 2011 - Wendy Pollack, The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
    Samuel S. Dalton, Solo Practitioner, Jefferson Parish, LA
  • 2010 - Alan Alop, Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago
    J. McGregor Smyth, The Bronx Defenders
  • 2009 - Julie Levin, Central Office of Legal Aid of Western Missouri
    Danalynn Recer, Harris County, Texas
    Eileen Hirsch, State of Wisconsin Office of The State Public Defender
  • 2008 - Charles F. Elsesser, Jr., Florida Legal Services, Inc.
    Eileen Hirsch, State of Wisconsin Office of The State Public Defender
  • 2007 - William C. McNeill, Legal Aid Society - Employment Law Center
    Dennis R. Murphy, Legal Aid Society, New York, NY
  • 2006 - Sharon Dietrich, Managing Attorney for Public Benefits and Employment for Community Legal Services, Inc.
    Melinda Pendergraph, Appellate Attorney, Missouri Public Defender System
  • 2005 - William Grimm, Senior Attorney, National Center for Youth Law
    Brownlow Speer, Chief Appellate Attorney, Committee for Public Counsel Services, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • 2004 - William J. Brennan, Jr., Director of the Home Defense Project of the Atlanta Legal Aid Society
    Roberto Nájera, Deputy Public Defender in the Alternate Defender Office of the Office of the Public Defender of Contra Costa County
  • 2003 - Lois Wood, managing attorney, of the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation
    Stephen L. Richards, deputy defender of the Death Penalty Trial Assistance Division, of the Office of the Illinois State Appellate Defender
  • 2002 - Harry J. Fulton, Chief of the Mental Health Division of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia
    Fred Fuchs, Attorney with Legal Aid of Central Texas
  • 2001 - Christine B. Hastedt, Public Policy Specialist, Maine Equal Justice Partners, Inc.
    Fred B. Last, Wayne E. Natale & P. Jeffrey Wintner, Gloucester County Regional Office, New Jersey Office of the Public Defender
  • 2000 - Robin Steinberg, Founder and Executive Director of Bronx Public Defenders
  • 1999 - Steve Fredrickson, Staff Attorney, Columbia Legal Services
  • 1998 - John M. Bouman, Co-Founder and Director of the Poverty Law Project, a public-interest law office of the National Clearinghouse for Legal Services in Chicago
  • 1997 - Cheryl Rafert, Attorney, Death Row Defender, St. Louis, MO
  • 1996 - Tanya Neiman, Executive Director, Volunteer Legal Services Program, San Francisco, CA
  • 1995 - Ellen Hines Smith, Executive Director, Piedmont Legal Services, Spartanburg, SC
  • 1994 - Elaine R. Jones, Director, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
  • 1993 - Ralph Santiago Abascal, General Counsel, California Rural Legal Assistance, San Francisco, CA
  • 1992 - Stephen Bright, Director, Southern Center for Human Rights
  • 1991 - John Rosenberg, Director, Appalachian Research and Defense Fund, Inc.
  • 1990 - Martha Bergmark, for her Civil Rights and Legal Services work in Mississippi
  • 1989 - Florence Roisman, for her pioneering work as a national housing advocate


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The University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law,, is among the nation's most racially, ethnically, class and age-diverse law schools. Its minimum of 740 hours of clinical public interest legal service - a sum exceeded by most of its students - is clear evidence that the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law is America's preeminent public interest law school.

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