Harvard Law School student Emily Inouye ’11 and alumna Cynthia Chandler ’95 have each received the Gary Bellow Public Service Award for their commitment to public interest and social justice work.

The awards were presented at an April 13 ceremony by Jeanne Charn, Director of the Bellow-Sacks Access to Civil Legal Services Project and Senior Lecturer on Law, and Lecturer on Law Diane Rosenfeld.  Dean Martha Minow spoke about the commitment to public service at HLS and the leadership role that Gary Bellow played in challenging the school to create the clinical program.

“Nothing better demonstrates the public service commitments at HLS than the amazing work of students and alumni, and this year’s honorees have each shown exemplary creativity, perseverance, and care on behalf of extremely vulnerable women and children.  It is just terrific to see Professor Gary Bellow’s legacy in their work,” Minow said.

The Gary Bellow Public Service Award is conferred in honor of the late Harvard Law School Professor Gary Bellow, who died on April 13, 2000. The award was created by students in 2001 to honor Professor Bellow, who founded the Clinical Program at HLS in 1971. His career in public service included work as a public defender in Washington, D.C., litigation on behalf of migrant farm workers in Calif., and advocacy for countless indigent clients in the Boston area. Bellow was a gifted teacher who challenged those around him to be better lawyers. He constantly pushed to make the world a more equitable place, both for individual clients and for the community as a whole.

Each year, students, alumni and faculty nominate candidates for the Bellow award, and the student body selects the winners, who demonstrate how lawyers can litigate, educate, advocate and organize to promote justice.

Chandler is the co-founder/executive director of Justice Now, a human rights organization mobilizing women in prison and local communities. She has worked on issues of women’s health, racial/reproductive justice for more than 20 years, beginning as an activist for sex-worker rights. She speaks and publishes regularly on these topics.

Recognizing her leadership development of imprisoned people, Chandler was awarded a 2001 Ford Foundation “Leadership for a Changing World Award.”  She was also named the 1997  “Attorney to Whom California Can Be Most Grateful” by California Law Business for her help in creating a practice of compassionate release for people dying in prison. She teaches “social change lawyering” at Golden Gate University School of Law and was awarded the 2010 Northeastern University School of Law Gevelber Distinguished Lectureship on Public Interest Law.

Inouye is a founding member and co-president of the Law & International Development Society at HLS. Her work focuses on serving women and children victims of violence and expanding access to justice for vulnerable populations. During her first summer of law school, she worked in Bolivia, serving victims of sexual violence through policy reform and direct representation. She has also conducted research in Timor-Leste on access to justice programs, and more recently, she has worked with the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice on expanding pro bono legal services in Latin America.

This semester, Inouye volunteered with the WLA Courtwatch Domestic Violence Pilot Program, and through the Gender Violence, Law and Social Justice Clinical, she has been working on a variety of issues related to human trafficking, prostitution, and domestic violence. She plans to continue work on these issues after graduation. She is a member of the Board of Student Advisors, HLS Advocates for Human Rights Board and she worked in the past as an executive editor of the Harvard Human Rights Journal.

For a full list of finalists, please see the following link.