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Associate dean of Drake Law School honored by Iowa Legal Aid

photo of Russell Lovell
Russell Lovell

Tory Olson, 515-271-1834, tory.olson@drake.edu

Russell Lovell, associate dean and professor of law at Drake
University, was honored Saturday, May 3, by Iowa Legal Aid with the
Excellence in Service Award for his work “to promote justice and ensure
that society becomes more hospitable to low-income people.” 

The Iowa Legal Aid Board of Directors presented the award
to Lovell at an awards luncheon. The honor recognizes Lovell for his
contributions as a former legal aid lawyer and, in particular, for his nearly
15 years of volunteer service as co-director of the Poverty Law Internship
Program (PLIP) funded by the Iowa Supreme Court. 

“Over the years PLIP has enabled 75 Drake law students
to respond to the call of public service as they developed their lawyering
skills. I have been pleased that, in a small way, I have been able to continue
to fulfill my commitment to equal justice through my supervision of the Drake
PLIP summer interns.” Lovell said.

Internship program enables interns to serve legal needs
of the poor statewide

Since 1995, Lovell has served, with Professor John Allen of
the University of Iowa College of Law, as co-director of PLIP. Over the years
of this collaboration, approximately 150 Drake and Iowa law students have had
their summer PLIP internships funded by Iowa Supreme Court Interest on Lawyer
Trust Accounts (IOLTA) grants. 

The PLIP program for this summer is funded by a $51,500 IOLTA
grant, sufficient to support five Drake and five Iowa interns.  

The interns work in legal aid offices across the state (Des
Moines, Cedar Rapids, Mason City, Dubuque, Ottumwa, Iowa City, Council Bluffs,
Sioux City, Nevada, Muscatine and Davenport). 

The past four years Lovell has also secured $360,000 in
Drake University Federal Work Study funds which, when combined with the IOLTA
grant funds, has supported an additional three to six summer poverty law
interns (and additional public service internships in a variety of other

Professors Lovell and Allen apply for and secure the grant
funding that pays the students’ salaries. They also recruit and place students
across the state, teach the intensive orientation program, monitor the summer
internship experience and resolve problems and prepare grant reports.   

Students who have completed their first and second years of
Law School are eligible for the PLIP internship. Interns handle fact
investigation, client interviews and administrative agency evidentiary

In addition, third-year interns represent clients in court,
under the supervision of onsite legal aid attorneys.  Iowa Legal Aid is a nonprofit organization that provides
free civil legal assistance to low-income Iowans who have nowhere else to turn.

Lovell: longtime commitment to public service

Lovell served as a staff attorney and then director of
litigation for the Indianapolis Legal Services Organization and law director
for the Indiana Center on Law & Poverty at the outset of his professional
career from 1971-76. Lovell specialized in major civil rights and impact cases
in areas of law ranging from consumer protection to school desegregation, from
prisoners’ rights to landlord-tenant law reform, from employment discrimination
to welfare reform. 

“My years as a legal services attorney in Indianapolis
were very rewarding and have greatly influenced my entire career,” Lovell
said. “They confirmed my belief that the skills we have as attorneys
provide us with a special opportunity, and responsibility, to work for justice
and equality.”

Lovell joined the Drake Law School faculty in 1976, where he
teaches constitutional and employment discrimination litigation, civil rights
and litigation generally, including the path breaking First-year Trial

His commitment to public service has continued throughout
his years in academia — he has been the recipient of five NAACP awards while
at Drake, including the prestigious Foot Soldier in the Sand Award at the 2005
National NAACP Convention and Drake University’s Madelyn Levitt Award for
Distinguished Community Service. Lovell has served as director of the Law
School’s Public Service Program since 1995.    

For more information about Iowa Legal Aid, visit the Web