Jeanne Charn ’70, a senior lecturer at Harvard Law School, is the winner of the 2014 William Pincus Award for Outstanding Service and Commitment to Clinical Legal Education from the Association of American Law Schools (AALS).
The Pincus Award is the AALS’s highest award bestowed in the area of clinical legal education. The award recognizes Charn’s excellence in service, scholarship, program design and implementation, and other activity benefiting clinical legal education and the advancement of justice.
Dean Martha Minow said: “How wonderful to see this recognition of Jeanne Charn whose pioneering work in access to justice continues to open new doors. Her commitment to delivering and improving legal services, to designing and refining clinical legal education opportunities, and to pursuing fairness and equality has inspired generations of students and contributed mightily to spreading these efforts elsewhere. We congratulate and salute Jeanne!”
A 1970 graduate of Harvard Law School, Charn began her legal career in 1968 as a student practitioner at the federally-funded Community Legal Assistance Office (CLAO) in Boston. She served as a staff attorney and law student supervisor at CLAO from 1970 to 1971, before joining the Mass Law Reform Institute as a staff attorney.
In 1973, she began her academic career with Harvard Law School when she was named the assistant dean for Clinical Programs. She and her late husband, Gary Bellow, conceived of and founded the Legal Services Institute (now the WilmerHale Legal Services Center), which began operating in 1979. As co-founder and director of the LSI, she managed Harvard’s largest clinical offering in a community-based setting and served more than 100 students and several thousand clients every year.
Since 1999, she has served as the director of the Bellow-Sacks Access to Civil Legal Services Project, which leads research and policy initiatives to expand access to civil legal advice and assistance for low and moderate-income households.
In 2003, Charn became a senior lecturer on law at Harvard Law School, where she teaches courses on the legal profession and delivery of legal services and researches legal services delivery, the legal and financial needs of low and moderate income households, professional skills and social welfare law and policy.