The beginning of a new year is always about looking for ways to improve the future---one of our specialties here at the ABF. Our researchers remain hard at work examining current realities and exploring their possible solutions, from property tax reform in Detroit to criminal justice reform nationwide. In our inaugural 2022 issue, we highlight a presidential appointment, a nod from the Queen, and some updates about Fellows events in conjunction with the newly virtual ABA Midyear Meeting. We also share the latest episode of the ABF's podcast, and hear from New York Fellow and ABF Board Member Professor Jennifer Chacón in our Fellows Spotlight.
ABF Researchers in the News
ABF Research Professor Bernadette Atuahene Cited in Bloomberg Article About the Link Between Unfair Property Tax Assessments and Investor Profits

ABF Research Professor Bernadette Atuahene’s 2020 California Law Review article, “Predatory Cities,” was referenced in an article for Bloomberg about the process by which local governments and investors take advantage of property tax debt to generate profits while low-income families lose their homes. “Unfair and Unpaid: A Property Tax Money Machine Crushes Families,” discusses the sale of Delinquent Tax Anticipation Notes, or DTANs, which are high-yield securities funded by overdue property tax fines and foreclosure sales. Professor Atuahene’s research has revealed that property tax assessments in Detroit, Michigan systematically apply higher tax rates to the lowest-priced homes, increasing the likelihood of property tax delinquencies and therefore benefitting prospective investors.

Read more here.
Former ABF Access to Justice Scholar Sarah E. Lageson Discusses Mugshots, Privacy Issues and Public Access with The Marshall Project

Former ABF Access to Justice Scholar and Rutgers University Newark School of Criminal Justice Associate Professor Sarah E. Lageson offered her expertise in an article for The Marshall Project about the legality of making mugshots widely available for public access. The piece questions the necessity of releasing mugshots in light of an ongoing debate between those who claim the pictures can be unfairly stigmatizing and those who argue that they serve as crime deterrents and may inspire additional victims of a given person to come forward. Professor Lageson states that legislative change is necessary to produce consistent policies on the matter, which currently are left to judicial discretion.

Read more here.
ABF Research Professor Reuben Jonathan Miller Gives TED Talk About Harsh Realities for Formerly Convicted Americans

ABF Research Professor Reuben Jonathan Miller closed out 2021 by giving an invigorating TED Talk about the aftermath of incarceration in the United States, and the 44,000 laws and policies that make successful reintegration into society exceedingly difficult for those with a felony in their past. Professor Miller challenges the contention that rehabilitation is the current goal of mass incarceration, citing the experiences of one of his research subjects, Jimmy, who runs into multiple systemic obstacles when trying to fulfill his parole requirements. As an alternative, he offers up the idea of a “radical politics of hospitality,” even for those who have caused harm.

Watch below:
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
Elise Boddie, New York Fellow, Appointed to Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States

Henry Rutgers Professor of Law and New York Fellow Elise Boddie has been working on President Joe Biden’s Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States since its inception earlier in 2021. The commission has been exploring multiple issues related to Supreme Court reform, such as term limits and court packing. Professor Boddie is one of 34 Commissioners charged with applying their knowledge to contextualize and provide recommendations regarding the ongoing debates about how the highest court in the land can most effectively support the United States and its citizens.

Read more here.
Jeffrey Bruce Golden, International Life Fellow, Appointed as The Queen’s Counsel Honoris Causa

International Life Fellow and 3 Hare Court Joint Head of Chambers Jeffrey Golden has been appointed as one of eight new Honorary Queen’s Counsel, or Queen’s Counsel Honoris Causa, for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The title "Honorary QC" recognizes legal professionals and/or experts who have demonstrated excellence and innovation in the United Kingdom’s justice ecosystem.

Read more here.
Patricia Lee Refo, Arizona Patron Fellow, Receives World Jurist Association Medal of Honor

ABA Immediate Past President, Snell & Wilmer Partner, and Arizona Patron Fellow Patricia Lee Refo has been awarded with a Medal of Honor from the World Jurist Association. The WJA provides recognition to “outstanding worldwide personalities of the legal and human rights defense field” who advance their goal of fortifying the Rule of Law through international cooperation and conversation. Refo, who navigated the American Bar Association through the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, received the award at the World Law Congress in Barranquilla, Colombia, in the presence of Spain’s King Felipe VI and the Republic of Colombia President Iván Duque Márquez.

Read more here.
Hon. Marla Luckert, Kansas Life Fellow, Receives Phil Lewis Medal of Distinction

Kansas Life Fellow and state Supreme Court Chief Justice Marla Luckert has been awarded the Phil Lewis Medal of Distinction. The Kansas Bar Association bestows the award upon professionals in the state who are dedicated to service and leadership in fields such as science, the arts, and law. Judge Luckert receives the award after a 40+ year career spent breaking down barriers for women in the law and immersing herself in legal administration and community care at the local and state levels.

Read more here.
Register Now:
Fellows Events in Conjunction with the 2022 ABA Virtual Midyear Meeting
Due to ongoing Covid-19 challenges, the ABA 2022 Midyear Meeting has been moved online, as have the following Fellows Events:
Friday, February 11, 2022

Fellows CLE Research Seminar (CLE Requested): "Democracies and International Law"
1:00pm PT / 2:00pm MT / 3:00pm CT / 4:00pm ET
Democracies and International Law, Tom Ginsburg (Cambridge University Press, 2021)
ABF Research Professor Tom Ginsburg, University of Washington Professor Rachel Cichowski, and University of Washington Law Associate Professor Dongsheng Zang will be discussing the complexities of international legal cooperation in the face of power shifts between democratic and authoritarian regimes. K&L Gates Managing Partner David Tang will moderate, and the conversation will reference Professor Ginsburg's new book, Democracies and International Law.

Find more information here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

66th Annual ABF Fellows Virtual Awards Banquet
4:00pm PT / 5:00pm MT / 6:00pm CT / 7:00pm ET
From Top Left: Hon. Vanessa Ruiz, Professor Martha Albertson Fineman, William T. Coplin, Jr., Esq., the late Hon. Robert A. Katzmann
The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation will be presenting four awards at this year's event, with keynote remarks from the Honorable M. Margaret McKeown, United States Appellate Judge for the Ninth Circuit:
"The Power of Dissent—Reflections on Justice Ginsburg"

Outstanding Service AwardHon. Vanessa Ruiz
Outstanding Scholar AwardProfessor Martha Albertson Fineman
Outstanding State Chair AwardWilliam T. Coplin, Jr., Esq., (Alabama)
Distinguished Career In MemoriamHon. Robert A. Katzmann

Find more information and register here.
The Fellows gratefully recognize the following for their support of this event:
Gold Sponsors:

Silver Sponsors:

For information about purchasing a tribute ad in the 2022 digital program book, please contact: Katy Traxler at (312)988-6538 or
Episode 7 - Rule of Law: World Tour
ABF Research Professor Terence Halliday, National Judicial College President Hon. Benes Z. Aldana
In episode seven, we’re covering the rule of law and exploring its relationship with legal professionals and the public around the world. 

  • What is the rule of law, and how does it relate to legal freedoms?
  • What role do judges and lawyers have in upholding and defending these legal freedoms?
  • How are countries held accountable when these freedoms are violated?

To answer these questions and more, we speak with ABF Research Professor Terence Halliday and National Judicial College President and ABF Fellow Hon. Benes Z. Aldana.

Listen here.
Fellows Spotlight:

New York Fellow and Berkeley Law Professor Jennifer Chacón doesn’t have a lot of free time these days, but that hasn’t stopped her from making access to justice a priority in her life, whether its as a co-author of a textbook about immigration and social justice, a leader in the AALS Section on Immigration, or a member of the ABF Board of Directors. The Stanford and Yale graduate has dedicated her career to improving the law and its administration, embarking on research projects that have seen support from organizations such as the Russell Sage Foundation and the National Science Foundation. Professor Chacón is a veteran of the University of California system, where she has been the Senior Associate Dean for Administration at UC Irvine and a professor at the Berkeley, Los Angeles, Davis, and Irvine campuses. In addition to her role as an educator, which won her the UC Davis School of Law Distinguished Teaching Award, Professor Chacón has also held a number of advisory positions, most notably with the Barack Obama campaign and transition teams as an immigration expert.
Jennifer M. Chacón
Q: What does being a Fellow mean to you? 
A: Being a Fellow means being part of a professional community of lawyers who care about improving access to justice and who are committed to supporting scholarly inquiry undertaken to promote that goal.
Q: Where were you born and raised? 
A: I was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, and I still make frequent trips there every year to visit my parents and other family members.
Q: Why did you decide to pursue a career in law? 
A: Growing up, I didn't have a full sense of the range of professional options available to people who completed higher education. I was a high school debater, and teachers told me that I should consider law school. I took a couple of law-related undergraduate courses that convinced me that I was interested in law, and so I applied to law school. But even as I was applying, I knew that I wanted to pursue an academic career. I wanted to read and write about law, and to teach law students. So, after 5 years of clerkship and law practice, I entered law teaching. Some days are hard, but I've never regretted that decision.
Q: If you hadn’t pursued a career in law, what would you have done? 
A: I like to think I'd be a professional singer. I sang a lot when I was young, but my dad always told me to keep my day job. So here I am.
Q: What do you do in your free time? 

A: I love this idea that I might have "free time"! As a working parent with a relatively new puppy, most of my time is spent triaging my duties as a teacher, researcher, writer, community member, and parent. Some days I am good at this. Other days I am not. I try to stay fit for this challenge by running (slowly), swimming (slowly) and lifting weights. I make time to do volunteer work - legal and non-legal. And I make sure to sneak in at least a little bit of fiction reading every day. I frequently dream about watching TV, but it doesn't happen very often. When it does, it is usually with my kids, so I'm basically limited to kid-friendly TV. The Great British Baking Show has been a winner for the whole family.
Q: Anything else you'd like to share with us?
A: It's been a real pleasure to serve on the ABF Board and to learn about the important work that ABF faculty are doing every day.

Welcome New Fellows!

We have had the pleasure of welcoming over 100 New Fellows to the ABF community since October 24, 2021. Click here to see a list of our newest members.
Support the ABF

We are grateful for your generosity and continued support. Please click here to make your contribution for this fiscal year which began on September 1, 2021.
Primary funding for the ABF is provided by the American Bar Endowment and the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation.
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