Announcements featured in this issue include the details of a new cohort of ABF faculty as well as news of an exciting new ABF podcast created, hosted, and produced by ABF staff. You will also find faculty and Fellows news items, a Fellows Spotlight, and a tribute to a late ABF leader below.
ABF Researchers in the News

ABF Affiliated Scholar Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve spoke to MSNBC about former police officer Derek Chauvin's trial for murder and her research on prosecutors' participation in police codes of silence. She discussed the implications of "bad apple" rhetoric related to police brutality and called for large systematic reforms.

Watch the segment here.

2020-21 William H. Neukom ABF Fellows Research Chair in Diversity and Law Meera E. Deo recently participated in a recorded webinar called "Wrestling with Words," which discussed how best to use representation and relevant language to promote antiracism and racial equity. The program was hosted by the ABA Section on Civil Rights and Social Justice.

Watch the panel here.

In an interview with the University of Virginia School of Law's Common Law Podcast, former ABF Neukom Chair, Patron Fellow and Dean at Boston University School of Law Angela Onwuachi-Willig spoke about cultural trauma in Black communities and police accountability. She discussed the ways in which collective experiences of tragic events affect a group in lasting ways.

Listen to the interview here.
Fellows in the News
Below are highlights from our Fellows news segment, Fellows in the News. You can view many more on our website here. Please send Fellows in the News submissions to
Dean Cynthia Nance, Fellows 2020-21 Chair Elect, Receives 2021 Hancher-Finkbine Alumni Medallion

Dean Cynthia Nance, Fellows 2020-21 Chair Elect, Arkansas Sustaining Life Fellow, and Dean Emeritus at the University of Arkansas School of Law, has received the 2021 Hancher-Finkbine Alumni Medallion. The gold medallion is one of the University of Iowa's highest honors and recognizes those who exemplify learning, leadership, and loyalty. The medallion was presented to Dean Nance in a virtual dinner ceremony held by the University of Iowa Hancher-Finkbine Dinner Committee on April 20, 2021.

Read more here.

William G. Paul, Oklahoma Visionary Fellow, has been named one of two recipients of a University of Oklahoma 2021 Honorary Degree. Mr. Paul received the honorary degree during a ceremony on May 14, 2021, at The Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

Mr. Paul was president of the American Bar Association from 1999-2000, during which time he initiated programs to increase diversity in the legal system. He has been with the Oklahoma City firm Crowe & Dunlevy since 1957.

Read more here.

Selma Moidel Smith, California Sustaining Life Fellow, retired attorney, and lifelong musician and composer, has been honored with the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music with a newly established endowment honoring and celebrating her music. The endowment will highlight the work of the school's composition students with an annual recital.

Ms. Smith attended UCLA as a political science major in the 1930s and returned as a music major in the 1960s. She was admitted to the California Bar in 1943. She has written over 100 piano and instrumental pieces and is featured in the International Encyclopedia of Women Composers. Watch a video tribute of Selma Moidel Smith's lifetime achievements here.

The inaugural Selma Moidel Smith Recital, hosted by the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, will take place virtually on Wednesday, May 26 at 6pm PT. To RSVP click here.

Paula E. Boggs, Washington Sustaining Patron Fellow, served as commencement speaker for the graduation ceremonies of the 2020 and 2021 Southwestern University graduating classes, which took place on May 8, 2021. Ms. Boggs brought to her speech insights from her historic and varied career, which includes experience as an esteemed attorney, Army Airborne veteran, corporate executive, philanthropist, and musician.

Ms. Boggs earned her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law in 1984. She was one of the first women to receive a congressional appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. She served as an attorney at the Pentagon and in the White House Office of Legal Counsel. She is a current Board member of the American Bar Foundation and has served 26 years in the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates and on its Board of Governors.

Read more here.
ABF Faculty Spotlight

New Cohort of Access to Justice Faculty Scholars

Top row (L-R): Robin Bartram, Brittany Friedman, Shannon Gleeson, Karin Martin. Bottom row (L-R): Victor Quintanilla, Michele Statz, Nicole Summers.
The American Bar Foundation (ABF) is pleased to announce the 2021-2022 cohort of ABF/JPB Foundation Access to Justice Scholars. The incoming group will bring innovative research to the organization to help advance access to civil justice.

This year’s cohort features seven scholars whose work explores critical questions about access to justice for underrepresented groups, including issues such as digital exclusion and bias in virtual court proceedings, the impact of court-ordered debt on access to basics of life such as housing, and rural access to justice.

The ABF/JPB Foundation Access to Justice Scholars Program promotes the next generation of scholars leading the field of access to civil justice and grows the human infrastructure of this burgeoning field.

Read more about the program and scholars here.
ABF Event Spotlight:
From Parchment to Practice Book Reception

On Wednesday, May 5, 2021, the ABF hosted a virtual book reception for From Parchment to Practice: Implementing New Constitutions, a new book edited by ABF Research Professor Tom Ginsburg and Professor Aziz Z. Huq.

The book explores the set of problems that arise when a new constitution has been adopted and examines common characteristics of the period following the initial adoption of a new constitution. The authors discussed these phenomena as well as the book's series of case studies.
ABF Launches Podcast:
Whose Law Is It Anyway?
The ABF is excited to announce its new podcast, Whose Law Is It Anyway?. Join host Matthew Martinez Hannon as he goes beyond the headlines and into our classrooms, courtrooms, and homes to learn how empirical and interdisciplinary research matters in everyday life.
Echoing the ABF’s motto, “Expanding Knowledge and Advancing Justice,” the podcast offers an in-depth exploration of sociolegal subjects such as access to justice, rent and housing, civil rights, and sexual consent on college campuses. 

The first episode is available now and features an interview with ABF Faculty Fellow Rebecca Sandefur. New episodes of Whose Law Is It Anyway? will be published monthly. Listen wherever you get your podcasts or stream online here.
Fellow Spotlight

Federal Career Senior Executive James Durant is Chief Counsel for the Office of Science-Chicago within the United States Department of Energy in Argonne, Illinois. He is a Life Fellow and a member of the ABF Fellows Research Advisory Committee (FRAC). He became a Fellow in March 2010.

Colonel James Durant
Life Fellow

Q: What does being a Fellow mean to you? 
A: Professional development. Being a Fellow has opened many doors and opportunities in my career in the Air Force and now in the US Department of Energy. From enrichment events such as award-winning CLE training sessions, to extraordinary guest speakers, to service on the ABF Fellows Research Advisory Committee, my status as a life-long government attorney has been significantly enhanced. Moreover, by receiving the ABF’s incredible legal research on matters germane to the practice of law, government, business and the like, I have learned more about the world around me and have been exposed to matters I would not have ordinarily been privy to in my current employment setting. Moreover, one cannot discount the exceptional professional connections and networks that come along with simply being a Fellow. During a 2012 interview in the White House for a political appointment with the US State Department, I was asked about being a Fellow. My response was the same. I am indeed honored to be a Fellow and I thank the Colorado Fellows for bringing me into the fold.   

Q: Where were you born and raised?
A: I was born in San Bernardino, California and lived there until leaving home to go to Howard University in Washington, DC. We lived in what some called “the barrio”—it is named “Verdugo,” Spanish for “executioner.” I was raised by a single mother, an elementary school educator, who ensured that my three brothers, sister and I benefited from a solid educational experience. She made us attend summer school every year until high school.  It paid off: All of us went on to college and four of us joined the military. Remarkably, we attended a segregated elementary school (see NAACP v. San Bernardino City Unified Sch. Dist. 1976). I was a seventh grader when in 1976 the California Supreme Court ordered desegregation of my school district. Following desegregation, I recall having to ride a bus for about 90 minutes to and from school, a fate I hoped never to have to repeat. Somehow, I excelled and received a full scholarship to Howard University and a full scholarship to Howard Law. After graduating and serving as the Executive Administrative Assistant to the President of Howard, I entered active duty in the US Air Force as a Judge Advocate. My first duty location was Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino, California. 
Q: Why did you decide to pursue a career in law and academia?
A: I always wanted to be the US Representative from my Congressional District. My plan was to fly jets (the C-141 Starlifter) in Air Force for seven years, then go to law school and run for office. Interestingly enough, in college ROTC, my flying was put on hold due to a medical issue. So as a pre-law major, I applied and got into a few law schools. However, during my senior year of college, the Air Force Surgeon General approved me to fly! Thus, I had a choice: Fly or go to law school. My ROTC commander at Howard University, Colonel John Bordeaux, a Vietnam F-4 Wild Weasel pilot, convinced me to go to law school. The Air Force has a program for graduating 2nd Lieutenants to go to medical school or law school. Thus, I put off flying and went to law school. Since law school was already in the plan, my dream was just accelerated by seven years. Once in the Air Force as a Judge Advocate and Special Assistant US Attorney, I was content with the career status and decided to stay on active duty for a full career. I had numerous opportunities to leave and go into other practice settings. My wife and I decided to remain and enjoy the career, which took us to nine different assignments including a tour at the US State Department, two NATO tours in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Naples, Italy, the US Air Force Academy, The United Kingdom, and the Pentagon.  

Q: If you hadn’t pursued a career in law and academia, what career would you have chosen?
A: I would have flown jets in the Air Force. In high school, I was an Air Force cadet in Air Force Junior ROTC—that is where my childhood goal of flying came into focus. Living less than two miles from Norton Air Force Base, I watched with great admiration and envy as C-141 Starlifters flew over my house and was sure at a tender young age that I would become an Air Force pilot. My high school ROTC commander, Colonel Dale Burns, was a C-141 Starlifter pilot and was indeed a great influence on my chosen profession. I was also influenced by my family to join the military. I hail from a distinguished line of career service members: Chief Petty Officer James M. Durant, Technical Sergeant James M. Durant Jr. and myself. My oldest, James M. Durant IV, will graduate West Point in two years and continue this line. My youngest son, Jonathan T. Durant, our real academician, plans to pursue a career in business following university. Thus, military service runs in my blood and DNA, and that is what I would have done if I did not go to Howard.   
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: I write articles for publication, give lectures, snowboard, garden, jog, sail, and most importantly support my family and wife of 30 years, Karen Durant, who I met at Howard Law school. 
Q: Anything else you'd like to share with us? 
A: I’ve been a United States public servant all of my adult life, now for almost four decades. I am honored and privileged to serve our Republic working for a better life for all Americans. Being a Life Fellow, and what the Fellows stand for and represent, is consistent with my life’s journey. Thank You!

Read more Fellow Spotlights here.
In Memorium

Leonard Stanley Chauvin, Jr.

The ABF fondly remembers the career and dedicated service of late Kentucky Life Fellow Leonard Stanley Chauvin, Jr.
Leonard Stanley Chauvin, Jr., who passed away on May 13, 2021 at the age of 86, was a longstanding supporter and leader of the ABF Fellows. He served as a past national Chair of the ABF Fellows and on the ABF Board of Directors.

Mr. Chauvin graduated from the University of Kentucky and went on to earn a degree from the University of Louisville School of Law. He was admitted to practice in eleven states and the District of Columbia and argued cases at all levels of the state and federal court systems including the United States Supreme Court. 

In addition to his service to the ABF, he served as President of the Louisville Bar Association, President of the American Judicature Society, Chairman of the House of Delegates, and President of the American Bar Association. Mr. Chauvin traveled the county and the world, including visits to China and the U.S.S.R.

He was an aide to Senator Earl Clements in Washington D.C. and was intimately involved in numerous local, state, and national political races. He was involved in running the presidential campaigns in Kentucky for Senators Robert F. and Edward M. Kennedy.

Read more about Mr. Chauvin's legacy here.
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