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    11.06.14 Professor William Hellerstein Named Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award Recipient
    Brooklyn Law School - Professor Willian Hellerstein

    On Saturday, November 15, 2014, in Atlanta, Brooklyn Law School Professor of Law Emeritus William Hellerstein will be presented with  a 2014 Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award. Primarily given to professors teaching in medicine, psychology, or law, the award recognizes educators who have inspired their former students to “create an organization which has demonstrably conferred a benefit on the community at large.”  As a recipient of the Beckman Award, Professor Hellerstein will receive a one-time check for $25,000.

    “I can say without hesitation his fearless and tireless advocacy for those less fortunate, coupled with his integrity and compassion for his clients, were the driving force behind my desire to help young people who often have no voice in our justice system,” wrote Adjunct Professor Laurie Parise ’04, who nominated Hellerstein. “I will be forever grateful for his role in helping me find my passion and my life’s work.”

    Adjunct Professor Laurie Parise

    A former student of Professor Hellerstein, Professor Parise went on to create Youth Represent, a youth defense and advocacy non-profit that provides criminal and civil legal representation to young people involved in the criminal justice system or experiencing legal barriers because of past involvement in the criminal justice system. Professor Parise also participated in Professor Hellerstein’s Second Look Clinic (from 2002 –03), which used newly discovered non-DNA evidence to exonerate individuals who had been wrongly convicted. Professor Parise also took Professor Hellerstein’s Constitutional Law class from 2001-02.

    Professor Hellerstein has had an impressive, extensive career largely focusing on serving the underserved, particularly in the wrongful conviction arena. A member of the Brooklyn Law School faculty since 1985, Professor Hellerstein is an experienced civil rights litigation and appellate advocacy authority. He served for 16 years as Attorney-in-Charge of The Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Appeals Bureau, also founding Legal Aid’s Prisoners’ Rights Project and Parole Revocation Defense Unit. Professor Hellerstein served as special counsel for pro bono matters at Proskauer Rose, vice president of the New York City Bar, co-chairperson of the New York State Commission on Indigent Defense, and a member of the New York State Bar Association’s Task Force on Wrongful Convictions. He is a Permanent Member of the New York State Justice Task Force, established by New York’s Chief Judge to investigate the causes of wrongful convictions. The New York State Bar Association has honored him twice with awards for “Outstanding Contribution to the Delivery of Defense Services” and “Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Criminal Law Education.” He has also been honored by the New York Civil Liberties Union.

    “It is an absolute honor to merit this recognition, especially on behalf of Ms. Parise’s work with under-represented youth caught up in the criminal justice system,” Professor Hellerstein said. “I hope this recognition serves the dual purpose of shining a light on this issue. I extend my deepest gratitude to Laurie Parise, a wonderful student, lawyer, friend, and human being, as well as the Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award Advisory Committee.”

    About the Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award
    The Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award was established in 2008 under the will of Gail McKnight Beckman in memory of her mother, Dr. Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman, who was an educator, a renowned author, and a pioneer in the field of psychology. Dr. Beckman was one of the first female psychology professors at Columbia University and also taught at the University of Pennsylvania. She was a champion of gender equality and an advocate for the advancement of women in academia.

    Since its inception, the Beckman Award Trust has awarded over $1.5 million to 63 professors and/or faculty members to date. This year’s award ceremony will take place at the Omni Hotel at CNN Center in Atlanta on Saturday, November 15, 2014.

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