The beginning of a new fiscal and academic year is always exciting. Even as we enter this new period with a multitude of challenging questions about our return to a new normal, there is still an air of possibility as the world, and the legal profession, evolves around us. What positive changes are coming to the legal academy in response to the events of 2020? How will we integrate virtual technology when reimagining our professional services and lives? This issue will highlight research about the effects of remote work on empathy and racial equity, a new podcast episode about diversity in the law, and yet another opportunity for wine-lovers to toast to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's legacy.

Meet Your New ABF Fellows Chair
University of Arkansas Dean Emeritus and Nathan G. Gordon Professor of Law Cynthia Nance is an award-winning legal educator, a widely published scholar, and the new 2021-2022 Chair of the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation. Dean Nance has been a Fellow for 14 years, serving at various points as an ABF board member and the Fellows secretary. In addition to her ABA service on the House of Delegates and the Section of Labor and Employment Law, Dean Nance is a Founding Fellow and section chair for the Association of American Law Schools, a board member for the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, and a member of the American Law Institute and Labor Law Group. She is known for her decades of steadfast service for women’s groups, churches, and labor organizations, as well as being "one of the most influential lawyers on Twitter," where you can find her at @Nancecy.

Cynthia E. Nance
Chair of the Fellows, Sustaining Life Fellow

Q: What ABF research project has meant the most to you?
​A: Professor Susan Shapiro's research on "End-of-Life Decision-Making" impacted me both personally and professionally, as I was the caregiver who made end-of-life decisions for my mother. Professor Shapiro's findings helped me think about that experience intellectually, especially how those responsibilities might be approached so that they are less agonizing. Her work also resonated with me on a personal level because of the powerful stories about the families wrestling with these decisions, as well as her specific finding that it is often the eldest daughter who tends to be the most effective surrogate in these situations.

Q: What is one thing all Fellows should know about the ABF? 
A: Fellows should be aware of the great work of the Foundation's faculty members, as well as the fact that they are available and pleased to share their research with the Fellows at our virtual and in-person events. 
Q: How has your involvement with the Fellows affected your work in legal academia? 
​A: Being involved with the Fellows has acquainted me with legal thought makers both within and outside of the academy, as well as to their scholarship and ideas. One happy result of this is that I have been able to introduce my students to innovative ideas and in some cases, thanks to videoconferencing, the leaders themselves.
Q: Who is your personal or professional hero? 
A: Christopher Columbus "C.C." Mercer, who was one of the Six Pioneers who integrated the University of Arkansas Law School in 1949. He had to spend time away from law school to earn the money to pay his tuition, but he passed the bar with the highest score in 1954, the year Brown v. Board of Education was decided. He practiced law for many years and was on the frontlines of many civil rights issues in Arkansas, including the integration of Central High. C.C. was a patient yet firm mentor to me and taught me so much about leading with grace under pressure. One of his sayings that I have shared with my Leadership Class is "Beforehand it's an explanation. After the fact, it's an excuse."
Q: What is your proudest accomplishment? 
​A: I think it would have to be successfully leading the law school under difficult circumstances: through reaccreditation, a new personnel document, and a major construction project that culminated in Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's dedication of the new building.
Q: You're a frequent attendee of the semi-annual Fellows Sing-Along. What is your go-to karaoke song? 
​A: Ha! Depending on the audience my go-to's are either KC and the Sunshine Band's "Get Down Tonight" or Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk."
ABF Researchers in the News
ABF Faculty Fellow Sida Liu Talks About China's Possible #MeToo Moment With the Toronto Star

American Bar Foundation Faculty Fellow Sida Liu spoke with the Toronto Star on August 7, 2021 about whether Canadian pop star Kris Wu’s arrest in China portends the beginning of the country’s own #MeToo movement. Professor Liu, an expert on the Chinese criminal system who teaches law and sociology at University of Toronto, argued that the high-profile case could encourage more survivors of sexual assault in China to come forward in the future, but that less publicized allegations still may not be treated with the seriousness they deserve.

Read more here
Former ABF Neukom Chair Professor Devon Carbado Quoted in Article Extolling the Benefits of Remote Work for People of Color

UCLA Law Professor and 2018-2019 ABF William Neukom Research Chair Devon Carbado was cited in an August 11, 2021 article in The Tyee, “The Special Reason Some Prefer Working at Home.” The piece explores the role that remote work plays in mitigating the challenges black people and people of color face in the workplace, resulting in a racial disparity between who is eager to return to the physical office and who is not. Reporter Hiren Mansukhani references Professor Carbado and UVA Law School Professor Mitu Gulati’s book, Working Identity, when discussing the role that code-switching plays in workplace burnout.

Read more 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
Eight ABF Fellows Elected to American Bar Association Board of Governors for the 2021-2024 Term

Eight of the 13 newest members of the ABA Board of Governors (BOG) are Fellows of the American Bar Foundation:

Honorable John Preston Bailey, Life Fellow

Leonard H. GilbertBenefactor Fellow

Seymour W. James, Jr.Fellow

Grant C. KilloranLife Fellow

Richard M. “Dick” LiptonLife Fellow

Honorable James Edward LockemyFellow

Elizabeth Kelly MeyersFellow

Amy Lin MeyersonLife Fellow

The ABA BOG consists of 43 members—district representatives, members-at-large, and six ABA officers—who have the authority to act on behalf of the ABA when the Association’s House of Delegates is not in session. This leadership position is one of the highest honors one can obtain in the field, and nomination requires endorsements from a minimum of 25 fellow ABA members in the area one wishes to represent.

To see the full list of the ABA Board of Governors, click here.
Reuben A. Guttman, District of Columbia Fellow, Co-Publishes “Pretrial Advocacy”

District of Columbia Fellow Reuben A. Guttman has co-authored a new book, Pretrial Advocacy, to be released by the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. The volume, which was also written by Rutgers Professor J.C. Lore, discusses the “unwritten rules” of pre-trial preparation and grapples with the challenges of efficiently developing cases that can stand up to jury scrutiny in the face of overflowing demand, even though 90% of civil cases never make it to trial.

Read more here.
Professor Susan Anne Bandes, Illinois Fellow, Discusses Empathy in Virtual Courtrooms with Law360

DePaul University College of Law Professor and Illinois Fellow Susan Bandes spoke with Law360 about her July 2021 journal article, “Empathy and Remote Legal Proceedings.” The essay, which was co-written by Quinnepac Law Professor Neal Feigenson and published in Southwestern Law Review, explores the effects of virtual courtroom proceedings on empathy toward litigants during the Covid-19 pandemic. Bandes explores such factors as technological glitches and “Zoom fatigue,” finding that, while such elements do not necessarily create negative feelings or attitudes toward litigants, they do subconsciously enhance those already present due to implicit bias. 

Read more here.
Organic French Wine Importer Provençal Collective Releases Limited Edition RUTH Wine, Will Make Gift To ABF
RUTH Limited Edition Special Label 2018
With a legacy as unique as the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s, her fanbase spans many different walks of life, from the courtroom to the vineyard. After many of you purchased the delicious 3-pack released last year by Theopolis Vineyards to support the American Bar Foundation, it comes as no surprise that a wine importer has approached the ABF to celebrate her legacy, this time all the way from Southern France.
On September 18, 2021, wine importer Provençal Collective released its RUTH Limited Edition Special Label 2018 to commemorate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s 2020 passing - and to make a gift in her honor to the ABF’s Ruth Bader Ginsburg Endowed Fund for Research in Civil Rights and Gender Equality (RBG Fund). Inspired by Justice Ginsburg’s storied legacy in France, 2020 World Organic Wine Fair Gold Medal-winning wine producers Domaine Vintur reached out to Provençal Collective, who partnered with Academy Award Winner Freida Lee Mock, director and producer of the acclaimed documentary RUTH – Justice Ginsburg In Her Own Words. The film, whose movie poster makes up the RUTH wine label, highlights Justice Ginsburg’s many French connections, including her famous Côte d’Azur parasailing adventure with fellow Justice Antonin Scalia. 

RUTH is an organic white wine made solely from Roussanne grapes grown in the southern Rhone Valley in Provence. Support the ABF’s RBG Fund by purchasing a bottle here
*Note: The RUTH wine is not available in all 50 states.
ABF Event Spotlight:

The Pandemic, Law Schools
and the Future of the Legal Profession

AALS Executive Director Judith C. Areen, ABF Executive Director and Research Professor Ajay K. Mehrotra
On September 14, 2021, ABF Executive Director Ajay Mehrotra sat down with AALS Executive Director and ABF Life Fellow Judith C. Areen to discuss the state of law school education in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and summer 2020 anti-racism protests. The national event was a reprisal of Professor Mehrotra’s previous conversation with Howard Law School Dean Danielle Holley-Walker for the DC Fellows, which touched upon the way law schools quickly adapted to a new virtual environment, as well as the genesis of the AALS Law Dean’s Anti-Racist Clearinghouse project. Professor Areen, who previously taught at Georgetown University Law Center, shared the challenges that law school deans are facing as they strive to accommodate both local governments that may not allow vaccine mandates and faculty who are uncomfortable with in-person teaching. She also analyzed the recent rebound of law school applications and the evolving role of the U.S. legal education system on the international stage. 

Watch below:

Episode 5: Raising the Bar on Diversity
2020-2021 ABF Neukom Fellows Research Chair Meera E. Deo, Jones Day Partner Jamila M. Hall
Despite the increased emphasis on diversity and inclusion within the legal field over the past several years, the legal profession remains one of the least diverse professions in the United States. According to the American Bar Association’s National Lawyer Population Survey, the past decade has seen little to no growth among people of color in the law. This lack of diversity matters within the legal profession – not just for lawyers, but more importantly for the people who seek legal remedies for their justice problems. What do diversity, equity, and inclusion look like in legal academia and the legal profession? How do individual challenges for underrepresented lawyers affect the law more broadly? And how has the pandemic shaped experiences for women and women of color in the legal profession?

To answer these questions, we sit down with Meera E. Deo, recent ABF Neukom Fellows Research Chair and Law Professor at Southwestern Law School, who explores how race and gender impact experiences for legal academics and legal education more broadly. Then, we speak with Jamila M. Hall, ABF Fellow and Partner at Jones Day. Jamila sits on the Jones Day firmwide Diversity, Inclusion and Advancement committee, and we talk with her about the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in the law and how individual challenges for underrepresented lawyers affect the law more broadly.

Listen here.
Support the ABF

We are grateful for your generosity and continued support. Please click here to make your contribution before our fiscal year ends on August 31st.
 The American Bar Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) organization. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in publications or presentations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Bar Foundation, nor the policy positions of the American Bar Association or its affiliates. The AMERICAN BAR FOUNDATION, ABF and related seal trademarks as used by the American Bar Foundation are owned by the American Bar Association and used under license.