Ellison Awarded CLEA Outstanding Student Award for Work in Juvenile Case

By LSU Law Director of Clinical Programs Robert Lancaster’s account, third-year law student Paige Ellison faced one of the most demanding cases to come through the school’s Immigration Legal Services Clinic.

Ellison, working with Adjunct Clinical Professor Ken Mayeaux, represented a Honduran native in a special immigrant juvenile status case.

It was this case Lancaster cited in nominating Ellison for the Clinical Legal Education Association’s Outstanding Student Award for LSU, of which she is the 2009 recipient. She was recently recognized at the Association of American Law Schools’ Conference on Clinical Legal Education in Cleveland, Ohio, along with winners from other schools.

“From the beginning, Ms. Ellison showed a level of maturity and professionalism well beyond her years and experience,” Lancaster said. “She impressed me in a number of ways—her calm and professional response to the setbacks in our case, her ability to deliver a great work product with minimal intervention, and her close working relationship with her client. She also demonstrated an understanding of the social justice implications of this work. I think she’s going to be a great young lawyer.

Chancellor Jack M. Weiss also praised Ellison’s dedication and achievements.

“Her work has had a profound influence on the life of her client, and her case puts a real face on the broader human rights issues faced every day by many in our community,” Weiss said. “To have the opportunity to represent clients in the clinical setting is another way that the Law Center can help our community while also providing outstanding legal education and real life experience for our students. I am proud of the very important work that Ms. Ellison and other students have done in our Clinical Program this year.”

Several clinics and externships were conducted by the Law Center this year in addition to the Immigration Legal Services Clinic. Among the programs were a Family Mediation Clinic; Domestic Violence Protection Clinic; Judicial Externships with the Louisiana Department of Revenue Office of Legal Affairs; the Internal Revenue Service Office of Chief Counsel (New Orleans); the LA Attorney General’s Office; and an expanded Juvenile Representation Workshop.

“Ellison’s outstanding work representing her client demonstrates how talented and capable LSU students are,” Lancaster added. “The Clinical Program will give our students the opportunity to do good work for clients in need of legal services-[and] to learn while working for social justice.”