Professor of Law Anna Carpenter has been awarded the prestigious Ellman Memorial Clinical Scholarship Award by the American Association of Law Schools’ (AALS) Section on Clinical Legal Education. The award, given annually, recognizes exceptional contributions to clinical legal education and scholarship. Carpenter’s frequent collaborator, Colleen Shanahan, a clinical professor of law at Columbia Law School, was also named a recipient of this year’s award.
In addition to her faculty appointment at the College of Law, Carpenter serves as senior director for presidential initiatives in the University of Utah Office of the President. She and Shanahan received the award at the 2023 AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education, held in San Francisco.
The Ellman Memorial Clinical Scholarship Award is given to scholar-teachers “whose career trajectory is dedicated to clinical and experiential teaching, whose written body of work evinces a concern for justice and a commitment to healing the world, and whose body of work emanates from their clinical commitments,” according to the AALS Clinical Section’s awards committee.
Anita Sinha, co-chair of the AALS Clinical Section, noted in an award announcement that Carpenter and Shanahan “have evinced a deep commitment to social and economic justice through their scholarly and clinical work. The sheer volume of their scholarship—more than 20 articles in the past decade—reveals the depth and breadth of their commitment to using research to improve the civil justice system.”
“They are driven by the idea that our courts can and should be more accessible, fair, and humane,” she continued. “Drawing on socio-legal theory, rigorous data analysis, and practical court-based experience, [Carpenter and Shanahan] surface the obstacles at the intersection of unmet legal needs and civil courts. In doing so, they both expand our understanding of these barriers and seek to hold us accountable in the search for better solutions.”
Many of Carpenter and Shanahan’s recent research publications have been authored together with Alyx Mark, assistant professor of government at Wesleyan University and an affiliated scholar at the American Bar Foundation; and Jessica Steinberg, professor of law at George Washington University.
In addition to her scholarship, Carpenter has also been actively involved in clinical legal education. She has been instrumental in developing innovative programs at the College of Law that provide students with practical experience and opportunities to engage with the community.
The Ellman Memorial Clinical Scholarship Award is named after Robert F. Ellman, a former law professor at New York University who was a pioneer in clinical legal education. The award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the field and embody Ellman’s commitment to social justice and legal education.