July 27, 2010
The Tulane Environmental Law Clinic (TELC) is the 2010 recipient of the prestigious Camille F. Gravel Jr. Pro Bono Award, an honor given annually by the New Orleans chapter of the Federal Bar Association (FBA) to those who have done a substantial amount of pro bono work throughout the year.
Tulane’s environmental law clinic was launched in 1989, to offer students a hands-on educational experience and to provide needed representation to communities and individuals otherwise unable to respond to an overwhelming array of issues in the region. One of the first such clinics in the country, it also has become the country’s largest. As many as 26 students enroll in the TELC each year to work on a variety of cases, which generally include lawsuits, administrative proceedings, and negotiations about air and water quality, wetlands protection, landfills, environmental justice, citizen participation, and community preservation. For more information on the clinic, click here.
The Camille F. Gravel Jr. Pro Bono Award is named in honor of the late Camille Gravel, a veteran trial attorney and a champion in the battle for civil rights and equal justice irrespective of financial means. With the avowed intention to have the “ordinary practice of a country lawyer,” Mr. Gravel hung out his shingle in Alexandria over 65years ago. Although he has received great attention for some of his high profile cases, including criminal defense matters, he prided himself on giving advice to ordinary people with ordinary legal problems. He never failed to return a call from a man or woman in need without regard to his or her ability to pay a fee. Mr. Gravel’s career paralleled the tumultuous years of the civil rights movement in the South, and his affinity to want to help those in trouble led him to embrace fully the call for equal justice for all races.
In 1980, an African American civil rights leader in Alexandria, and a contemporary of Mr. Gravel, wrote the following of him: “I know of no other man in this state who has been more dedicated to the problems of the weak, the oppressed, the down-trodden, the have-nots, and those who are least able to defend themselves than Camille Gravel.”