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Shelley Broderick: 2018 Presidents Award for Public Service

By Sebastien Monzon Rueda

Full of determination, moxie, and passion, Shelley Broderick has catapulted the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law (“UDC-DCSL”) to one of the nation’s premier public interest law schools. Under her twenty years of leadership as dean, she emphasized creating a quality legal program that focuses on public service and clinical practice. This mission to create social progress changed the face of the legal profession in the District of Columbia.

After graduating from Georgetown University Law Center, Shelley began her academic career as clinical faculty. She directed the Criminal Defense Clinic at the Antioch School of Law for ten years representing more than 2,000 individuals charged with crimes in the District’s local and federal courts. She also co-directed the Legislation Clinic for four years, supervising students working primarily on health and safety, environmental justice, and criminal justice legislation with the D.C. Council. She also taught the Trial Advocacy Workshop at Harvard Law School for many years.

As dean, Shelley secured for UDC-DCSL the highest level of American Bar Association Accreditation. She oversaw the $1.6 million library expansion project, and raised over $15 million for endowed chairs, scholarships, public interest fellowships, and clinical programs. Under her leadership, students served the legal needs of thousands of low-income District residents through the School’s nine legal clinics.

Professor Broderick is a founder and long-time participant in the D.C. Consortium of Legal Services Providers, an organization committed to increasing the quantity, improving the quality, and coordinating the delivery of legal services to low-income D.C. residents. She also is serving her fourth term as a member of the D.C. Access to Justice Commission.

This past summer, Shelley stepped down as dean of UDC-DCSL after 20 years at the helm. In her reflection, Shelley thanked her colleagues and fellow alumni for their generous and caring support during her time as dean. Shelley’s leadership, encouragement and example have led and inspired new generations of public interest lawyers. From leading students at a march against injustice to proudly proclaiming, “Your tax dollars at work!” when talking about the law school, Shelley is truly a catalyst for public service. It is an honor to award the 2018 Presidents Award for Public Service to the incomparable, Shelley Broderick.

Sebastien Monzon Rueda is a member of Washington Council of Lawyers.