Tuesday, June 29, 1999

WRITER: Matt Haney, (706) 542-5172

CONTACT: Kathy R. Pharr, (706) 542-5172, pharr@jd.lawsch.uga.edu


ATHENS, Ga. -- A University of Georgia professor and a graduating law student recently received awards for their work in public interest law, which seeks to provide legal assistance to the poor and under-represented.

Laurie Fowler, and adjunct professor at the University of Georgia School of Law and director of public service and outreach at UGA's School of Ecology, received the 1999 Equal Justice Award for the Outstanding Public Interest Attorney. Marcy Jolles, who graduated in May from the University's law school, received the 1999 Shelly D. Knox Equal Justice Award for the Outstanding Public Interest Law Student. The Knox award is named for a law student who had devoted herself to serving the under-represented, but died shortly before graduating in 1997.

Fowler, who came to UGA in 1997, teaches a practicum course, open to law and ecology students, which works to safeguard the biologically diverse but endangered Etowah River watershed in northwest Georgia. Students in her course drafted legislation, passed into law by the state legislature, allowing landowners to use transferable development rights to protect agricultural land. The also wrote a conservation subdivision ordinance for Cherokee County.

Fowler's professional experience includes several years as a private practitioner and attorney for the Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation in Atlanta. In 1993, she founded the Georgia Environmental Policy Institute, which works with leaders at all levels of government in Georgia to help manage growth and protect the environment. Fowler was co-chair of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs' Waste Advisory Council from 1996 to 1998, and currently sits on the Governor's Environmental Advisory Council.

Earning her bachelor's degree from the University of the South, Fowler went on to earn a law degree from the University of Georgia and a master of laws degree in marine affairs from the University of Washington.

Jolles spent her law school career heavily involved in public interest law. She served for two years as treasurer of the School of Law's Equal Justice Foundation and worked as an intern with the University's Legal Aid and Defender Clinic. In addition, Jolles spent two years as the South Regional Coordinator of the National Association for Public Interest Law, based in Washington, D.C., and participated in the NAPIL/VISTA Summer Legal Corps, working to help low-income entrepreneurs through the North Tulsa Neighborhood Alliance in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She was also active in the law school's Public Interest Practicum, which provides information, education, referral and ombudsman services to clients at local soup kitchens, housing projects, homeless shelters, and alternative schools in the Athens-Clarke County area.

Jolles, who is from Augusta, is currently serving a one-year fellowship at the University of Georgia Legal Aid and Defender Clinic in Athens.