CLEA established this award to honor and recognize a case or project that truly contributes to the public good. The award may be given to an individual law student or law students in a clinical program or to a clinic or clinical program.

The criteria for the award are:

  1.  The case or project either: 

  • effectively calls attention to and/or significantly redresses a high priority need of underserved or low income residents or communities; or
  • makes a notable or meaningful contribution to the advancement of civil rights, civil liberties, human rights, legal services for the underrepresented, environmental protection, or consumer protection; and

  2.  The case or project has been carried out in conformity with the highest standards of professional conduct and competence; and

  3.  The case or project serves as an inspiring model for engaging in legal work under challenging conditions in furtherance of the common good.

Prior recipients of the award are:

2020: University of Chicago Law School, Federal Criminal Justice Clinic

2019: University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, Legislation Clinic

2018: Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Health Justice Project

2017: Justice Lab at Temple University Beasley School of Law

2016: University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Civil Rights Clinic; and

Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, Law Reform Advocacy Clinic 

2015: Saint Louis University School of Law Legal Clinics

2014: Charlotte Law School, Civil Rights Clinic's "Ban the Box" Campaign  

2013: CUNY School of Law, CLEAR Project's "Mapping Muslims" Report

2012: Alabama School of Law, Tornado Relief Assistance Project; and

Quinnipiac School of Law, Civil Justice Clinic

2011: Albany Law School, Civil Rights & Disability Law Project

2010: University of Miami School of Law, Health and Elder Law Clinic

2009: University of Washington School of Law, Environmental Law Clinic

2008: Rutgers-Newark School of Law, Constitutional Litigation Clinic

2007: Tulane School of Law, Criminal Law Clinic

2006: Golden Gate University, Southeast San Francisco Energy Project

2005: Florida State University College of Law, Children's Advocacy Center

Maryland School of Law, Walter Henry Arvinger Legal Defense Team

2004: University of Chicago Law School, Police Accountability Project; and

CUNY School of Law, Clinical Programs

2003: University of Miami School of Law, Foster Children’s Mental Health Project

2002: University of Denver School of Law, predatory lending project

Nominations should be in the form of a letter of no more than three single-spaced pages.

Each nomination should be endorsed by at least three individuals. At least one of those individuals must be a full-time clinical faculty member at a law school and a member of CLEA. The other two individuals need not be CLEA members, nor clinical law professors. The nominating letter should clearly indicate which of the nominators are CLEA members.

Letters of support in addition to the nomination letter are also welcome, and the letters of support may come from CLEA members or non-members. The letters of support must be submitted in the same email as the nominating letter.

All materials should be submitted as a single PDF.

The nomination deadline is Monday, April 12, 2021. Please send nominations via email to with the subject line: CLEA Awards. 


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