Professor Bridgit Burke, her students and the Civil Rights & Disabilities Law Clinic (CRDLC) were recognized with an award at the 5th Annual Human Rights Recognition held by the City of Albany's Commission on Human Rights at City Hall on Feb. 6, 2013.
Professor Burke and dozens of law interns over the years have dramatically improved the quality of life and protected the rights for institutionalized clients, and they have pioneered a statewide model of collaborative lawyering that includes the private sector, not-for-profits and law students.
Over the past several years, through a combination of client representation, impact litigation, policy development, and community education and collaboration, Professor Burke and the law students have made it possible for a number of individuals, some of whom had languished in developmental centers in Upstate New York for years, to assert their long-held right to move to less restrictive community settings.
The award was conferred to "honor those individuals and organizations, residing within the City of Albany, who best exemplify the Commission’s objective of fostering a climate of mutual respect, tolerance, and understanding among all groups living and working in the City."
The CRDLC, now in its 30th year, has facilitated 400 students to help represent more than 1,600 clients to date on matters ranging from special education rights, discrimination in housing, discrimination in employment and access to services. Countless students have pursued careers in this kind of work, making the community that much stronger.