November 30, 2004
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.-Austin Sarat, the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at Amherst College, will receive the 2004 Reginald Heber Smith Book Award, given biennially to honor the best scholarship on "the subject of equal access to justice," from the National Legal Aid and Defender Association in December. This is the first time it will be given to a professor at a liberal arts college. Sarat will be recognized for his work on cause lawyering and the three books he has produced on the subject.

The National Legal Aid and Defender Association first gave a Reginald Heber Smith Award in 1961. The award is named for Reginald Heber Smith (1889-1996), the father of legal aid in America and author of Justice and the Poor (1919). Counsel to the Boston Legal Aid Society before joining the law firm of Hale and Dorr, Smith was awarded the ABA Medal, the highest honor of the American Bar Association in 1951.

Sarat, who has taught at Amherst since 1974, has written many books. Most recently he was the co-author with Stuart Scheingold of Something to Believe In: Politics, Professionalism and Cause Lawyering (2004). His next book, Mercy on Trial: What It Means to Stop an Execution, will be published in 2005 by Princeton University Press. Sarat has served as President of the Law and Society Association and of the Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities.