January 6, 2014 - Recognizing Dean Matthew Diller’s leadership in legal education and public service, the AALS Section on Pro Bono and Public Service Opportunities awarded him with the 2014 Deborah L. Rhode Award. Dean Diller has a decades-long record of distinguished work in public service, which includes legal representation, scholarly research, public advocacy, and innovative leadership in legal education.

The Rhode award is given annually to honor a full-time faculty member or dean who has made an outstanding contribution to increasing pro bono and public service opportunities in the law school environment.

Dean Diller will be recognized as a professor, scholar, and law school administrator for his tireless work on advancing access to justice, which includes his:

• creation and development of the Field Clinics Program at Cardozo Law. The program places approximately 60 students per semester with dynamic nonprofit and government law offices in the New York City area, where they work part-time for a semester or year.
• support for Cardozo’s Center for Public Service Law. Dean Diller has led efforts to raise over $600,000 for public service stipends, which fund summer internships for more than 240 students annually.
• expansion and increased fundraising for the Bridge to Practice Postgraduate Public Service Fellowship Program.
• efforts in expanding clinical opportunities at Cardozo Law. New clinics includ the Guardianship Clinic, The Indie Film Clinic, the Civil Rights Clinic, and the Youth Justice Clinic.
• establishment of Cardozo’s Public Service Council, comprised of distinguished leaders in the field who advise and support public service programming at the school.
• creation of a home for the National Center for Access to Justice.
• service as a key member on Chief Justice Jonathan Lippman's Task Force to Expand Access to Civil Legal Services in New York. Dean Diller is the chair of the task force's Law School Collaborations Committee.

During his distinguished career prior to becoming Cardozo’s dean, Professor Diller served for nine years as co-director of the Louis Stein Center for Law and Ethics at Fordham University School of Law, where he focused on public service law and taught seminars in public service lawyering. Dean Diller’s scholarly works in public service include a series of articles published over a 17-year period in the Clearinghouse Review: Journal of Poverty Law and Policy, examining Supreme Court rulings on access to justice cases, and scholarship in leading law journals on issues relating to poverty and disability law.

His community service experience includes a decade as vice chair and member of the Board of Directors at Legal Services NYC, as well as serving on the Board of Directors at the National Center for Law and Economic Justice for eight years. In his early career, he spent seven years as a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society in the Civil Appeals and Law Reform Unit.

Dean Diller will be presented the Rhode Award at the AALS annual meeting in January in New York City.

For more information contact:

John DeNatale
Assistant Dean
Office of Communications & Public Affairs

Jacqueline Reeves
Assistant Director
Office of Communications & Public Affairs