Law Dean, Doug Blaze, Honored by AALS for Pro Bono Commitment

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Doug Blaze, dean of UT’s College of Law, has received the 2012 Deborah Rhode Award from the American Association of Law Schools.

The award honors a dean or faculty member who has dedicated significant efforts to increasing access to justice through the law school environment while inspiring similar efforts from others.

He will receive the award in New Orleans on January 5, 2013, at the annual meeting of the AALS.

According to the organization, recipients of the national award have made an “outstanding contribution to increasing pro bono and public service opportunities in law schools through scholarship, leadership, and service.”

Buck Lewis, of Baker Donelson Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC, wrote in his nomination of Blaze, “There is no dean or faculty member I have ever met who is more fully committed to this cause than Doug Blaze. He has created a culture of volunteerism at his law school which dramatically impacts the professional lives of his students. His example serves as an inspiration to private practitioners, judges, and educators across our state.”

As dean of the College of Law, Blaze established the first full-time position in any of Tennessee’s six law schools that works specifically with faculty, staff, and students to address access to justice needs. Since filling the position one year ago, the College of Law has seen a 12 percent increase in the number of students participating in pro bono work and a 68 percent increase in the number of pro bono hours reported by its students.

Blaze, the Art Stolnitz and Elvin E. Overton Distinguished Professor of Law, was appointed dean of the College of Law in 2008. He joined the college in 1993 as director of clinical programs.

He is a member and former chair of the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services. He is also very active on various bar committees, including the Tennessee Bar Association Access to Justice Committee and the Knoxville Bar Association Access to Justice Initiative.

Blaze has received numerous honors and awards, including UT’s prestigious Thomas Jefferson Prize. He also has received the Bass, Berry, & Sims Award for Outstanding Service to the Bench and Bar, the Harold Warner Outstanding Teacher Award, and the Carden Institutional Service Award. For his efforts to promote equal access to justice in Tennessee, he received the B. Riney Green Award in 2003. Blaze earned his law degree from Georgetown University.

Blaze’s full biography and publications are available on the College of Law website.

The Deborah Rhode award is named in honor of Professor Deborah Rhode, who has been a member of the faculty at Stanford Law School since 1979. A former president of the AALS, she has championed access to justice issues through scholarship and leadership appointments throughout her career.

C O N T A C T :

Tanya Brown (865- 974-6788, tgbrown@utk.edu)

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