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Professor and Director of Clinical Programs Russell Engler has received the 2023 Pro Bono & Public Service Opportunities Section Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of American Law Schools (AALS).

The award is given annually to those who have significantly advanced pro bono and public service in the law school setting over the course of their career. Engler accepted the award in San Diego on Thursday, January 5, 2023, at the AALS Annual Meeting.

Dean Lisa Freudenheim wrote in her nomination of Engler: “It is difficult for me to envision someone who has more consistently dedicated his entire career to access to justice issues than my colleague Russell Engler. It is at the core of his being, and behind every decision he has made in his trailblazing forty-year career.

“Professor Engler was the primary visionary and one of the founding faculty for our Center for Law and Social Responsibility, through which we created a home for faculty service projects. Much of the legal aid service work in which our faculty members engage would not have occurred without his initiative. Few in the Boston area legal community who have been involved in public interest and/or access to justice efforts would not recognize his indispensable contributions over the past three decades.”

Engler has also been instrumental in shaping New England Law’s clinical program through his leadership over the past three decades. He founded the school’s immensely popular Public Interest Law clinic, which caters to a wide range of students, including those with no prior clinical law experience. Engler has been an innovative and inspiring presence within the law school, instigating curricular changes that have opened up student schedules so that they may engage in public service. 

Engler joined New England Law as Director of Clinical Programs in 1993 after serving as Director of the Housing Law Unit at Brooklyn, NY, Legal Services, Corporation B. He has authored approximately 25 law review articles or book chapters related to access to justice and clinical legal education. His most recent work, appearing in the Boston College Law Review in 2021, paid tribute to late Chief Justice Ralph Gants of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, with whom Engler worked closely for many years.