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The ABF Announces its 2016 Doctoral Fellows

April 18, 2016, Press releases

Chicago, IL – The American Bar Foundation (ABF) has awarded doctoral fellowships to four scholars who will be in residence at the ABF beginning September 2016. The ABF, in collaboration with the Law and Society Association (LSA) and Northwestern University, aims to develop the next generation of scholars doing original and significant research on law, the legal profession, and legal institutions. In 2016, two fellowships were awarded under the Law and Social Science Dissertation Fellowship and Mentoring Program (LSS Fellowship), co-sponsored by the LSA, ABF, and National Science Foundation (NSF). The ABF Doctoral/Postdoctoral Fellowship is awarded under the sole sponsorship of the ABF, and the ABF/NU Doctoral Fellowship is a new fellowship co-sponsored by Northwestern University. Among a highly competitive application pool, Ayobami Laniyonu, and Jeffrey Omari were selected as the 2016-18 LSS Doctoral Fellows, Emma Shakeshaft as the 2016-17 ABF Doctoral Fellow, and David McElhattan as the ABF/NU Doctoral Fellow.

The LSS Fellowship is a collaborative effort of the LSA and the ABF, with primary funding from the Law and Social Sciences Program of the NSF. It is a two-year program and is open to third, fourth, and fifth year graduate students whose research interests include law and inequality, as well as interdisciplinary and humanities students pursing empirically-based social science dissertations. LSS Fellows participate in the intellectual life of the ABF, including participation in a weekly seminar series. In addition, LSS Fellows work closely with an LSA mentor-at-large and a mentor at the ABF.

Ayobami Laniyonu

Ayobami Laniyonu, LSS Doctoral Fellow, is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). His research interests center around state practices of social control and political behavior. He primarily focuses on the political determinates and outcomes of criminal justice policies. Laniyonu’s dissertation explores the impact that policing practices and strategies have on political participation.

Jeffrey Omari

Jeffrey Omari, LSS Doctoral Fellow, is a Ph.D. candidate in the Anthropology Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). He holds a J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law. His research focuses on the political, legal, and cultural implications of internet governance in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His dissertation will use ethnographic research to examine how governmental policies intended to expand internet inclusion have redefined the relationship between the Brazilian state and Rio’s urban poor communities.

The ABF Doctoral Fellowship is a one-year program open to Ph.D. candidates pursuing research in the general area of socio-legal studies. Diverse candidates are especially encouraged to seek this opportunity.

Emma Shakeshaft

Emma Shakeshaft, the 2016 ABF Doctoral Fellow, is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research examines the legal interpretations and procedures of judges, lawyers, and governmental actors by analyzing resource allocation and case outcomes based on gender, ethnicity, and race. Her dissertation focuses on transracial adoption case law, human trafficking case law, and data on nonimmigrant visas for victims of criminal activity and human trafficking. Shakeshaft received her J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School and is a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin.

The ABF/NU Doctoral Fellowship is a new one-year fellowship offered this year. The fellowship aims to encourage original and significant research on law, the legal profession, and legal institutions. Fellows are outstanding Northwestern students pursuing Ph.D. degrees in the social sciences, and are nominated by the Office of the Provost at Northwestern.

David McElhattan

David McElhattan, the 2016 ABF/NU Doctoral Fellow, is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at Northwestern University. His research examines the collateral consequences of criminal conviction, the social organization of risk, and the ways in which race operates in a variety of American legal institutions. His dissertation explores the use of criminal records by non-criminal justice actors, tracing how the availability of criminal history information dramatically expanded in the United States over the past three decades. McElhattan’s research shows that alongside the extraordinary growth in punishment wrought by mass incarceration, an accompanying movement increased the social consequences of criminal records by making them more widely available.

"We are looking forward to welcoming a new cohort of doctoral fellows to the ABF this fall,” said Ajay Mehrotra, ABF Director and member of both the LSS and ABF Fellowship selection committees. “Next year's group of outstanding, advanced graduate students are sure to continue the ABF's longstanding tradition of being one of the leading incubators of the next generation of scholars working at the intersection of law and social science."

Past doctoral fellows have gone on to promising careers as tenured professors, legal professionals, and social science researchers. Qualified doctoral students interested in fellowship opportunities at the ABF can learn about the application requirements on our website.

About the American Bar Foundation

The American Bar Foundation is the nation's leading research institute for the empirical study of law. An independent, nonprofit organization for more than 60 years, The American Bar Foundation’s mission is to serve the legal profession, the public, and the academy through empirical research, publications, and programs that advance justice and the understanding of law and its impact on society. The ABF’s primary funding is provided by the American Bar Endowment and The Fellows of The American Bar Foundation.

About the Law and Society Association

The Law and Society Association is an interdisciplinary scholarly organization committed to social scientific, interpretive, and historical analyses of law across multiple social contexts.

About the National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency created by Congress is 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense …” and is the funding source for approximately 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities.

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The American Bar Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) organization. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in faculty and doctoral fellow publications 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.

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