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Fellows of The American Bar Foundation to Host 61st Annual Awards Reception and Banquet

January 25, 2017, ABF news

The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation (ABF) will host the 61st annual Fellows Awards Reception and Banquet from 6-10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4 at Miami’s historic Alfred. I. duPont Building. The Awards Reception and Banquet are among several events hosted by The Fellows of the ABF during the 2017 American Bar Association (ABA) Midyear Meeting, Feb. 1-5, 2017, in Miami, Florida.

The Fellows awards are given annually to outstanding members of the legal profession and the academy. The 2017 award recipients are: Helaine Barnett, Esq., Outstanding Service Award; Professor Akhil Reed Amar, Outstanding Scholar Award; and Honorable Eileen A. Kato (Ret.) and Salvador A. Mungia, Esq., Outstanding State Chair Award. In addition, Professor Charles J. Ogletree Jr. will be presented with the first-ever Distinguished Life Fellow Award.

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is the sponsor of the 2017 banquet. Professor Amar will deliver the keynote address, titled, “The Rule of Law and the Role of Lawyers in the Age of Trump.”

Helaine Barnett has dedicated her career to the provision of legal aid and the advancement of equal access to justice. Barnett spent 37 years as a staff attorney to The Legal Aid Society of New York, eventually heading the Society’s multi-office Civil Division. Among her accomplishments, Barnett established the Homeless Family Rights Project and organized the 9/11 Disaster Assistance Initiative in the wake of the September 11 attacks. In 2004, she was appointed President of the Legal Services Corporation, and served in that capacity for six years. In 2010, she was appointed by the Chief Judge of New York to chair a statewide Task Force to Expand Access to Civil Legal Services, now the New York State Permanent Commission on Access to Justice. Barnett is a former member of the American Bar Association Board of Governors and Executive Committee. Barnett has authored several law review articles on access to justice and has taught a seminar at New York University Law School on Access to Civil Justice. She is the recipient of many awards, including the ABA Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award and the New York State Bar’s Gold Medal.

Akhil Reed Amar is the Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University and a renowned constitutional law scholar. He has been cited by Supreme Court justices in more than 30 cases, and is listed among the five most frequently cited legal scholars under the age of 60. In 2008, Amar received Yale’s DeVane Medal, the university’s highest award for excellence in teaching. He has served as a scholar in residence at several law schools across the country, and has had visiting professor appointments at Columbia Law School and Pepperdine Law School. He is the author of numerous books, including The Bill of Rights: Creation and Reconstruction, winner of Yale University Press’ Governor’s Award, America’s Constitution: A Biography, winner of the ABA’s 2006 Silver Gavel Award, and The Constitution Today: Timeless Lessons for the Issues of Our Era, named one of the top ten nonfiction books of 2016 by Time magazine. In 2016, Amar received the Connecticut Law Tribune’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. is Harvard Law School’s Jesse Climenko Professor of Law and a world renowned legal theorist. Ogletree has committed his career to public service and racial justice. He is the founder and executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, a research institute that combines scholarship, policy and law to advance equality for all Americans. Ogletree has authored several books, including recent publications, Life without Parole: America’s New Death Penalty? (co-editor) and The Presumption of Guilt: The Arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Race, Class, and Crime in America.  For his myriad contributions to the legal academy,Ogletree was presented with the ABA Spirit of Excellence Award in 2009.

The Outstanding State Chair Award is given annually to a Fellow or Fellows of the ABF who has, in his or her role as a sitting state chair or co-chair, demonstrated dedication to the work of the Foundation and the mission of the Fellows through exceptional efforts on behalf of the Fellows at the state level. Selection of the recipient is made by the Fellows officers, who oversee the national organization. Washington State co-chairs Hon. Eileen A. Kato (ret.) and Salvador A. Mungia, Esq., are the recipients of the 2017 award.

Eileen Kato has been the co-chair of the Washington State Fellows since 2011, and served on the King County District Court for more than twenty years, retiring in 2016. She is an active member of the ABA, serving as a member of the House of Delegates, the Center on Racial & Ethnic Diversity and the Justice Kennedy Commission on Sentencing.

Salvador A. Mungia is a partner with Gordon Thomas and Honeywell law firm and has served as co-chair of the Washington State Fellows since 2013. Mungia has been recognized for his career-long deep commitment to increasing access to justice equality. He served four years as a delegate to the ABA House of Delegates and is the past president of the Washington State Bar Association, Legal Aid for Washington, the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association and the Western State Bar Conference.

“The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation are exceptionally proud of this distinguished group of honorees,” said Michael H. Byowitz, chair of the Fellows. “Throughout their careers, Helaine Barnett, Akhil Amar and Charles Ogletree have each made lasting contributions that have improved our justice system – in improving access to justice, fighting inequities and improving our understanding of law – all core principles that define the Fellows and the ABF.  And we are especially proud and grateful for the wonderful job that Eileen Kato and Sal Mungia have done as Washington State Co-Chairs of the Fellows.” Byowitz added, “We look forward to a special night of celebration of these extraordinary leaders and their service to our profession and to our country.”

Event details:
WHAT:            The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation 61st Annual Award Reception and Banquet
WHEN:            6-10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017
WHERE:         Alfred I. duPont Building, 169 E. Flagler St., Miami, FL 33131 

This is a ticketed event. Please click here for registration information. For general event information, contact or call 800-292-5065.

The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation is an honorary organization of lawyers, judges, and legal scholars whose public and private careers have demonstrated outstanding dedication to the welfare of their communities and to the highest principles of the legal profession.

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.

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