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Law Professor Tania Tetlow Wins President's Award for Excellence

May 19, 2009

Amazing, inspiring and passionate are words that Tania Tetlow’s students use to describe the associate professor of law. Tetlow and Physics Professor John Perdew received the Tulane University President’s Awards for Excellence in Professional and Graduate Teaching at University Commencement on Saturday (May 16).

Tetlow, who has directed the Tulane Domestic Violence Legal Clinic since 2005, has an interdisciplinary perspective. She facilitates a joint legal-medical domestic violence course, conducts training at the Tulane Medical School and coordinates studies with the School of Social Work, the Department of Sociology, the Payson Center for International Development, and the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. In addition, she works to educate the wider community about issues of domestic violence.

“Law students need to learn that good lawyers don’t just do their work in the courtroom; they work to try to change broken legal systems with more than litigation,” Tetlow says.

Although the Domestic Violence Legal Clinic has worked with dozens of clients with complicated cases against batterers, Tetlow says that so far she has never had a client whose abuser spent a day in jail. “That’s a real eye-opener for law students who need to understand the limitations of the legal system,” she says.

In her teaching, Tetlow provides students with real-world experience. She brings actors into the classroom to perform mock depositions and cross-examinations of batterers.

She invites New Orleans Police Department officers, the district attorney and domestic violence survivors to speak to her classes. Through the clinic, law students offer free legal aid to clients. Social work students also assist the clinic’s clients.

A student of Tetlow says that the law professor “achieves the rare feat of making the subject matter stay with the students well beyond the final examination.”

Both Tetlow and Perdew each received a medal designed by professor emeritus Franklin Adams and a stipend of $5,000.

For more information on Perdew’s accomplished teaching career, click here.


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