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The Arthur Liman Center for Public Interest Law honors one of Yale Law School’s most accomplished graduates, Arthur Liman ’57. Arthur Liman personified the ideal of commitment to the public interest. Throughout his distinguished career, he demonstrated how dedicated lawyers, in both private practice and public life, can serve the needs of people and causes that might otherwise go unrepresented.
A nationally known and highly respected attorney in private practice, Arthur Liman also served in a wide range of public service positions. He was Chief Counsel to the New York State Special Commission on Attica Prison; President of the Legal Aid Society of New York and of the Neighborhood Defender Services of Harlem; Chair of the Legal Action Center in New York City; Chair of the New York State Capital Defender’s Office; and Special Counsel to the United States Senate Committee Investigating Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition.
With the support of the friends and family of Arthur Liman, Yale Law School established the Arthur Liman Public Interest Program in 1997 to forward the commitments of Arthur Liman as an exemplary lawyer dedicated to public service in the furtherance of justice. On its twentieth anniversary, in 2017, the Program became the Arthur Liman Center for Public Interest Law.
The Liman Center
Each year, the Liman Center awards several Liman Fellowships to Yale Law School graduates to spend a year working in the public interest at host organization around the United States. In addition, the Center supports Summer Fellowships, for students at Barnard College, Brown University, Bryn Mawr College, Harvard University, Princeton University, Spelman College, Stanford University, and Yale University. The Liman Center is also home to in-residence Fellows, who join in teaching and research at the university.
The Liman Center hosts the Liman Workshop, a seminar taught in the spring of each year; topics vary and have included Racial Justice and Immigrants’ Rights, Criminal Systems at a Crossroads, and Imprisoned: From Conception and Construction to Abolition. In another seminar, Research for Reform, Liman faculty collaborate with students to do innovative research that informs contemporary challenges in legal systems. For example, projects have focused on the use of solitary confinement, the impact of liens imposed on individuals who are incarcerated, and access to voting for people in detention.
The Liman Center also hosts an annual colloquium to bring together scholars, students, lawyers, social scientists, current and former Liman Fellows, and other experts to address issues in criminal and civil law reform and in legal education.