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From the ABF Director

A Message from Ajay K. Mehrotra
Executive Director and Research Professor, American Bar Foundation
Professor of Law & History, Northwestern University School of Law

As I enter my final year as ABF Director, I am excited to work with all of our Fellows Officers, state chairs, and individual Fellows to continue the ABF’s mission of expanding knowledge and advancing justice.  The past year has been a challenging one for all of us.  We continue to mourn those whom we have lost to the global pandemic, as we slowly return to some semblance of normality. 

 Despite the recent challenges, the ABF continues to be among the world’s leading research institutes for the empirical and interdisciplinary study of law.  Our highly productive ABF scholars continue to garner international awards and recognition, as well as grants and funding from such prestigious organizations such as the National Science Foundation, the AccessLex Institute, and the JPB Foundation.  In the past two years, the ABF has produced a remarkable amount of scholarship.  Our faculty have published roughly 75 articles, seven books and reports, and delivered many more research presentations to scholars and practitioners.  Indeed, we hosted over 30 virtual ABF Fellows events last year featuring our researchers and luminaries of the bar and bench – nearly all of whom are ABF Fellows themselves.

In addition to our research, ABF programming maintains our longstanding commitment to building the pipeline of emerging, diverse, and talented lawyers and legal scholars.  Our Montgomery Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows and our Postdoctoral and Doctoral Fellows programs – both of which have been in existence for decades – continue to help us diversify not only the academy, but the legal profession as a whole. 

None of our ABF achievements would have been possible without the support of the ABF Fellows and the American Bar Endowment, our two most important sources of funding.  We are especially grateful for this year’s Fellows’ leadership: Cynthia Nance (Chair), Darrel Mottley (Chair-Elect), Laura Farber (Secretary), and Judge Eileen Kato (Immediate Past Chair).  Thanks to their outstanding guidance and our amazing staff, the ABF Fellows had another outstanding year of fundraising.  We not only elected nearly 700 new Fellows this past year; we also raised over $2.4 million – in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime, global pandemic, no less!

As we look ahead to this year, everyone at the ABF is thrilled to build on the momentum we have created.  Although we are all holding out hope that we will soon be on the other side of the current healthcare crisis, until we get there, you should know that your continued support as ABF Fellows has only made our organization stronger.  It has been a tremendous honor for me to lead the ABF and to meet many of our ABF Fellows throughout the world.  Thank you for all that you do for the American Bar Foundation. 

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