Bellow Brought Love to Law
Remembering Professor Bellow for his commitment to providing legal aid to the poor
The equality of all Americans under the law is meaningless unless all citizens have equal access to the law and the protections it affords. Brandeis Professor of Law Gary Bellow, who passed away two weeks ago, recognized this truth and his work both in the classroom and in the community, helping to bring the power of the law to bear on the side of the powerless.
Bellow used his talents and his knowledge of the law in wide variety of roles to serve the interests of the disadvantaged. He worked to provide legal aid to poor residents of Washington, D.C. and was one of the founders of the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, which worked to defend migrant workers during their struggle to unionize.
Once at Harvard, he integrated his service to America’s poor and underrepresented into the curriculum. He was one of the fathers of clinical legal education, where students’ classroom training is applied to real cases. To further this project, he founded the Hale and Dorr Legal Services Center in Jamaica Plains; providing an opportunity for Harvard Law students to provide legal services to the poor while gaining valuable experience.
Bellow’s career is a vivid reminder that the law is an important defense for the disadvantaged. He once observed, "We discovered the best legal education America had to offer didn’t teach us how to get someone out of a cellblock." In remembering Bellow we remember to vigilantly watch and work so that all Americans know that they can find recourse in the law, equally.