SCLAID Awards

The SCLAID Centennial Access to Justice Award

Award Overview

The SCLAID Centennial Access to Justice Award

This award recognizes two young lawyers, one from a civil legal aid practice and one from a public defense practice, for exceptional achievements on behalf of their clients and/or in advancement of the cause of access to justice. The objective of this award is to highlight and raise awareness of exemplary and innovative work being undertaken across the nation by the next generation of leaders in the fields of civil legal aid and public defense. By broadly disseminating descriptions of the accomplishments of the Award recipients, SCLAID intends to provide insights, best practices, and inspiration to attorneys throughout the public interest community. In addition, by including a scholarship component to the Award to defray student loan expenses, SCLAID is working to raise awareness of the importance of addressing student loan debt as a necessity in the successful retention of young public interest lawyers, while also further incentivizing submission of nominations of qualified nominees.

As SCLAID looks back on its history during the centennial anniversary of its founding, this award was created as a means of looking forward through the current contributions and future promise that the best and the brightest young lawyers bring to their work and commitment to the access-to-justice community.

Award Criteria

  1. The Award shall be given in recognition of the individual attorney's achievement in one or more of the following areas:
    1. Creation of a significant access-to-justice innovation;
    2. Demonstrated superior effort, exceeding the performance of routine duties, dedicated to providing client representation over a specified period; and/or
    3. Exceptional service to, or support of, the advancement of the cause of access to justice.
  2. Nominees must be under 36 years old or admitted to practice for five years or less at the time of nomination. If the nominee is a member of a young lawyer Affiliate of the ABA Young Lawyers Division with differing membership criteria, the nominee will still be eligible for nomination by satisfying those differing criteria. If selected as the recipient of the Award, the nominee must be a member of the ABA at the time of receipt of the Award.
  3. Nominations for the award may be made by the executive director (or equivalent) of the organization at which the nominee is employed. Supervisors and staff are encouraged to recommend appropriate individuals for nomination to their executive directors. Nominators must be members in good standing of the ABA at the time of submission of the nomination.

For more details on the prize and nomination procedures, click the "Nomination Guidelines" link below.

Award Year

This Award will be presented at the August 2020 Annual Meeting of the American Bar Association in Chicago, IL.

Award Resources

Nomination Guidelines >>

Nomination Form >>