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Santacroce Honored by AALS for Service to Clinical Legal Education

By Lori Atherton
January 4, 2019

David A. Santacroce, an associate dean for experiential education and a clinical professor of law, was selected as a recipient of the 2019 William Pincus Award for Outstanding Service and Commitment to Clinical Legal Education. The award, given by the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Section on Clinical Legal Education, honors recipients for their service, scholarship, program design and implementation, and other activities beneficial to clinical education or to the advancement of justice. The Pincus Award is the highest award presented within clinical legal education.

“I’m humbled by the honor, one that I would have not received without the support and guidance of Michigan Law’s faculty and clinical faculty from schools across the country,” said Santacroce, who is the first Michigan Law clinical professor to have been bestowed the award. It was presented to him at the AALS annual meeting in New Orleans on January 4.

Santacroce is a past chair of the AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education and former board member of the Clinical Legal Education Association. He joined Michigan Law in 2001 and teaches in the Civil-Criminal Litigation Clinic. His primary teaching interest is impact litigation focusing on civil rights, particularly health care issues. Since 2013, he has served as the associate dean for experiential education, and has broadened Michigan Law’s experiential education program to include the Unemployment Insurance Clinic, the only in-house clinic exclusively for 1Ls in the nation, and opportunities to bring live-client work into mandatory 1L legal practice classes. Under Santacroce’s leadership, the Law School also began offering a guarantee that all students have the opportunity to take an upper-level clinic during their time at Michigan Law, and he created the Michigan Clinical Law Teaching Fellows program.

In addition to his Law School duties, Santacroce is the founder and president of the Center for the Study of Applied Legal Education (CSALE), a nonprofit corporation housed at the Law School that focuses on the empirical study of law school clinics and externship programs and the promotion of related scholarship. Using CSALE data, Santacroce has provided advice and assistance to deans and faculty members at more than 75 percent of U.S. law schools on issues of clinic and externship design, pedagogy, and staffing. He also is the president and founding member of Equal Justice America, a nonprofit corporation that provides grants to law students who volunteer to work with organizations providing civil legal services to the indigent. Prior to joining the Law School, Santacroce was a senior staff attorney for the Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice in Detroit.

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