Spring Miller receives 2020 B. Riney Green Access to Justice Award from Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services

Assistant Dean for Public Interest Spring Miller has received the 2020 B. Riney Green Access to Justice Award from the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services. The award recognizes public advocacy attorneys for promoting state-wide collaboration among legal advocacy organizations and attorneys on projects that strengthen access to justice across the state.

“The B. Riney Green Award is meant to celebrate the power of state-wide collaboration. Spring Miller is certainly a shining example of that,” said Chief Justice Jeffrey S. Bivins ’86 of the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Miller was honored for her work with TALS, Tennessee Justice for Our Neighbors, the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, and law students and faculty to address the legal needs of low-wage workers during the pandemic. She is currently teaching a low-wage worker practicum through which students work with partner organizations on workers’ rights-related community legal education and outreach projects and provide brief advice and counsel to callers seeking employment-related counsel through the TALS HELP4TN line.

“One great thing about my work at Vanderbilt now is that I have the opportunity to forge all kinds of new collaborations and build new relationships with faculty and staff colleagues, with students and with community and legal services partners,” Miller said. “I’ve been thrilled with the ways we’ve found in the last couple of months to partner with TALS, its member organizations, and law students to address the painfully urgent needs of low-wage workers during the pandemic. This is the kind of work that gives me energy and gets me going, I learn and grow so much from it.”

“Spring identifies a problem and then takes the necessary action,” said public activist and spoken word artist Rashad Rayford of Nashville, who introduced her on behalf of TALS

The award’s name honors Nashville attorney B. Riney Green, who led Tennessee’s effort to prevent the U.S. House and Senate from adopting provision that would have reduced funding for legal services to underserved populations and increase restrictions on legal aid programs. A corporate lawyer in private practice, Green successfully engaged advocates across the state in the effort to maintain funding and eliminate restrictions on legal aid programs.

Miller has served at assistant dean for public interest at Vanderbilt Law School since summer 2015. After earning her J.D. at Harvard Law School, she was a Skadden Fellow at Southern Migrant Legal Services in Nashville from 2007-09 before joining the organization as a staff attorney and managing its human trafficking practice area. In addition to leading Vanderbilt’s public interest program, Miller teaches The Public Lawyer, the Workplace Advocacy Practicum, and oversees student pro bono programs and projects.