Congratulations to Alex Smith and Lisa Sullivan, winners of the inaugural Harvard Law School Exemplary Clinical Student Award!

This award recognizes a graduating student who exemplifies putting theory into practice through clinical work. The student winner has demonstrated excellence in representing individual clients, undertaking group advocacy or policy reform projects. In addition, in keeping with the clinical teaching model, the student has been self-reflective and shown thoughtfulness and compassion in their practice and has contributed to the clinical community at HLS in a meaningful way.

Alex Smith

Alex Smith has spent more than 22 of the past 32 months since entering law school providing direct legal services to the poorest and most marginalized disabled Boston residents through his work at the WilmerHale Legal Services Center (LSC). Julie McCormack and the Community Lawyering Program team nominated Alex for:

“…his firm adherence to the quiet, less heroic, everyday practice of ethical lawyering across literally hundreds of intakes and cases, his attention to conflicts of interest, his careful explanation to clients of their and our rights and responsibilities, his consistent care with highly confidential medical, personal and legal information, his comprehensive assessments of the broad range of legal issue presented in each case, his thoughtful examination of the social and political contexts implicated, his deeply generous mentoring of several rounds of new clinical students and interns, his insightful and constructive critique of systems and practices, and the intelligent compassion he has shown to each and every individual he has encountered (so much so that his clients are genuinely distressed that he is now leaving)”.

Lisa Sullivan

During her time at HLS, Lisa Sullivan participated in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic, Harvard Defenders and Criminal Justice Institute (CJI). CJI Clinical Instructor Rob Proctor has high praise for her work in the clinic, writing:

“Lisa embodies all the characteristics I think are important for all HLS clinical students: compassion for the clients and for other students, an unwavering commitment to justice, zealous advocacy, attention to detail, thoroughness in preparation, and inspiring optimism…. Lisa was certainly a zealous client advocate, which is always paramount, but what sets Lisa apart is that she was able to establish the same goodwill, respect and attention of the courtroom in a matter of months that takes a seasoned trial lawyer years to achieve. Many court personnel: judges, prosecutors, clerks, and court officers, who have seen hundreds (if not thousands) of lawyers, pulled me aside and spoke very highly not just of her advocacy and zealous representation of her clients, but more importantly, of her decency, respectful demeanor, and humanity which influenced others around her to respond in kind.”

Best of luck to Alex and Lisa as they embark on the next stage of their careers!