AILA Presents Lisa Graybill with the 2015 Elmer Fried Excellence in Teaching Award

Advocacy Award

Saturday, June 20, 2015

George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) will award Lisa Graybill, of the Sturm College of Law, Denver, CO, with the 2015 Elmer Fried Excellence in Teaching Award for outstanding professor in the area of immigration law. She will receive the award today during AILA's Annual Conference in National Harbor, MD.

Professor Graybill exemplifies excellence in teaching in her position as Assistant Professor of the Practice of Law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. She created and currently directs the Immigrants' Rights Lab, and also served as a visiting professor in Denver Law's Civil Rights Clinic.

Combining aspects of a traditional clinical program with an externship experience, the Immigrants' Rights Lab she created provides students with the opportunity to learn in unconventional settings. Last year, unconventional took on a whole new meaning when Ms. Graybill led multiple trips with students to family detention facilities in Artesia, New Mexico and Dilley, Texas. She also volunteered with RAICES at Karnes for a few days, making her one of the very few people to have volunteered at all three family detention centers in the southwest.

Prior to volunteering on the ground in Artesia, Ms. Graybill was active with the offsite volunteer network that began to set up the remote bond system that the Artesia Pro Bono Project and now the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project utilize. She and her students were exceptionally active with bond cases, both on the ground and off. Ms. Graybill was also an active advocacy voice speaking to anyone who would listen about what was happening in Artesia and helped activate AILA's law professor network early on, resulting in the recruitment of volunteers and increasing visibility in Denver and beyond.

Professor Graybill began her legal career clerking for a U.S. District Court Judge in New Jersey, then joined the Special Litigation Section of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division through the Attorney General's Honors Program. As a trial attorney at the DOJ, she worked on matters involving police misconduct and prison and jail conditions. From 2005-2012, she was the Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas, where she co-counseled the last family detention case concerning the Hutto Family Detention Center. She holds degrees from Smith College and the University of Texas School of Law.


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 15062098.