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August 13, 2004

Press Contacts: Kirston Fortune, UT Law, (512) 232-1229 or Jodi Bart, UT Law, (512) 471-7330

Professor Gerald Torres Receives Legal Service Award from MALDEF

AUSTIN, Texas — Gerald Torres, a law professor at The University of Texas at Austin, has been given the 2004 Legal Service Award from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) for his work to advance the legal rights of Latinos. Torres, who also serves as president of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS), will accept the award at MALDEF's 36th Anniversary Gala on Friday, September 10, at the Westin Riverwalk Hotel in San Antonio.

“The Legal Service Award is presented annually to an individual for his or her exemplary advancement of the legal rights of Latinos,” said Luis Figueroa, legislative staff attorney at MALDEF. “Professor Torres is being recognized in particular for his academic contributions to critical race theory. His book, The Miner’s Canary, is one of the more powerful pieces dealing with everything from affirmative action and race theory to the importance of advancing the causes of minorities,” Figueroa said.

“To be given this award from MALDEF, one of the nation's leading civil rights organizations and one that has long epitomized the belief that the road to justice leads through law, is a great honor. I hope that I can continue to deserve their respect and that I can contribute to their mission,” said Torres. “The nation is changing and MALDEF is one of those profound agents for positive change. I am proud to be associated with them and I hope that my work can continue to honor their struggle and the struggle of our community,” Torres said.

A leading figure in critical race theory, Torres is also an expert in agricultural and environmental law. His other areas of interest include federal Indian law and international environmental law. Torres came to UT Law in 1993 after teaching at The University of Minnesota Law School where he also served as associate dean. He has served as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and as counsel to former U.S. attorney general Janet Reno.

His books include, The Miner's Canary: Enlisting Race, Resisting Power, Transforming Democracy (Harvard University Press, 2002) with Harvard Law professor Lani Guinier, which was described by Publisher's Weekly as "one of the most provocative and challenging books on race produced in years." Torres' many articles include "Translation and Stories" (Harvard Law Review, 2002), "Who Owns the Sky?" (Pace Law Review, 2001) (Garrison Lecture), "Taking and Giving: Police Power, Public Value, and Private Right" (Environmental Law, 1996), and "Translating Yonnondio by Precedent and Evidence: The Mashpee Indian Case" (Duke Law Journal, 1990).

Torres has served on the board of the Environmental Law Institute, the National Petroleum Council and on EPA's National Environmental Justice Advisory Council. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Law Institute. He has been a visiting professor at Harvard and Stanford law schools. Torres received a degree in political science from Stanford in 1974, a law degree from Yale University in 1977, and a master's degree in law from The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1980.

Founded in 1968 in San Antonio, Texas, MALDEF is the leading nonprofit Latino litigation, advocacy and educational outreach institution in the United States. MALDEF's mission is to foster sound public policies, laws and programs to safeguard the civil rights of the 40 million Latinos living in the United States and to empower the Latino community to fully participate in our society.

Related Links:
About Professor Gerald Torres: http://www.utexas.edu/law/faculty/gtorres/
Professor Torres Named 2003 President-Elect of the Association of American Law Schools: http://www.utexas.edu/law/news/2002/100202_torres.html
Torres Addresses AALS as New President at Annual Meeting: http://www.utexas.edu/law/news/2003/121903_torresaals.html
Gerald Torres and Lani Guinier Give Public Lecture on "The Changing Face of Politics and Race": http://www.utexas.edu/law/news/2003/111903_torres.html
UT Law #1 for Hispanics: http://www.utexas.edu/law/news/2003/090803_hispanic.html
Dean William Powers Delivers Keynote Address at MALDEF's 35th Anniversary Gala: http://www.utexas.edu/law/news/2003/092603_maldef.html
MALDEF: http://www.maldef.org/