After more than one dozen years and influencing scores of law students as they trained to become registered mediators with the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution, the longtime face of the School of Law’s Mediation Clinic – Eleanor “Ellie” Crosby Lanier – retired July 1.
Lanier will be remembered for her passion for increasing access to justice and introducing law students to creative ways to address unmet legal needs.
Her law school service included teaching classes in elder law and serving as the school’s associate dean for clinical programs and experiential learning for her last two years.
She was also an instrumental force in the Athens Access to Justice Initiative that has provided free legal assistance to more than 1,000 low-income and underserved members of the community since 2017.
It is no surprise that Lanier plans to continue lending her talents to local and state access to justice initiatives, mediating and volunteering at the Healing Lodge at Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center.
Over the years, Lanier has received numerous honors for her work, including the State Bar of Georgia Daniel Bradley Award and most recently UGA’s Walter Barnard Hill Award for Distinguished Achievement in Public Service and Outreach (which recognizes contributions improving the quality of life in Georgia and beyond).
She said she would like to be remembered for her “sustained, consistent small acts of kindness and service more than anything else.” Adding “better yet – forget me and go do something to make the world better.”
Her new “office” will be her backyard swing overlooking the Oconee River. She does promise come back to visit and remain an “ardent supporter of the law school and its students.”
At the School of Law, environmental law and the Environmental Practicum have long been synonymous with the name Laurie A. Fowler. The 1983 alumna joined the school’s faculty as an adjunct professor in 1991. She served for more than two decades as a UGA public service associate teaching both in the law school and the Odum School of Ecology, where she was an associate dean for 10 years and oversaw ecology students’ doctoral and master’s research. Fowler retired from UGA June 1.
In many ways, she was a pioneer. She was one of the nation’s first to create an interdisciplinary clinic. When she took over the Environmental Practicum in 1997, she opened the course to Ph.D. and master’s students in other disciplines to enhance the value of the program’s work in drafting cutting-edge policies to manage land resources protecting water quality, water supply and biodiversity.
Among her (and the practicum’s) highlights are: developing land conservation policies for three Georgia governors, drafting state legislation and local natural resource protection ordinances that have been adopted broadly across the Southeast – which she refers to as “a global hotspot of aquatic biodiversity” – as well as growing the land trust community.
Fowler said she would like to be remembered for “igniting in [her] students a passion for environmental justice and an understanding of the broad diversity of interesting tools [that can be used] regardless of politics or theories of governance.”
In retirement, she plans to continue her environmental policy work, stay active in her garden and begin keeping bees. She also intends to spend “a lot of time” with her granddaughter, Cora, whose parents are Amble Johnson (J.D.’16) and Amy Coenen (daughter of law school’s Dan T. Coenen, who holds a University Professorship and the Caldwell Chair in Constitutional Law ).