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James J. Sandman to be honored with the 2021 Distinguished ABF Life Fellow Award

December 16, 2020, Press releases

CHICAGO, Dec. 16, 2020 – James J. Sandman, Distinguished Lecturer and Senior Consultant of the Future of the Profession Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, will receive the 2021 Distinguished Life Fellow Award from the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation (ABF). The award will be presented during the 65th Annual Fellows Awards Banquet, which will be held virtually on Tuesday, February 16, 2021.

Sandman is also President Emeritus of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), the largest funder of civil legal aid in the United States. He served as President of LSC President from 2011 to February 2020. 

The Distinguished Life Fellow Award is given to a Fellow in recognition of a lifetime of sustained and significant professional achievement and public service.

As president of the Legal Services Corporation, Jim demonstrated a tireless dedication to public service and a passionate commitment to access to justice,” said Honorable Eileen A. Kato (Ret.), National Chair of the Fellows and Patron Life Fellow.The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation are honored to recognize Jim for his professional achievement and, more broadly, his extraordinary impact on the legal profession.”

Sandman practiced for 30 years with the international, Washington-based law firm of Arnold & Porter and served as the firm’s Managing Partner for a decade. Immediately prior to joining the Legal Services Corporation, he served for three years as General Counsel of the District of Columbia Public Schools. He is past President of the 100,000-member District of Columbia Bar.

“As a Life Fellow, I am honored to receive this recognition from the American Bar Foundation,” said Sandman. “I am pleased to support the ABF’s mission and look forward to continuing to support the ABF in the future.”

He is currently Chair of the American Bar Association’s Task Force on Legal Issues Arising Out of the 2020 Pandemic. Sandman is also Chair of the Board of the DC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and Vice Chair of the District of Columbia Access to Justice Commission. He is a board member of Albany Law School and of the Pro Bono Institute. He is also a member of the American Law Institute, the District of Columbia Public Charter School Board, the District of Columbia Bar Pro Bono Committee, and the advisory board of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System.

Sandman has received many awards and honors for his work. He was namedone of the “90 Greatest Washington Lawyers of the Last 30 Years” by the Legal Times in 2008.The University of Pennsylvania Law School honored him with its Alumni Award of Merit and its Howard Lesnick Pro Bono Award. Sandman also received the American Bar Association’s Presidential Citation; the District of Columbia Bar’s highest honor, the Justice William J. Brennan Jr. Award; and the D.C. Commission on Human Rights’ Cornelius R. Alexander Humanitarian Award.

Sandman was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree by the College of Saint Rose and has received Villanova University’s Medallion Award. He has also given commencement addresses at the College of Saint Rose, Villanova Law School, Rutgers Law School, and the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law.

Event Details: 

The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation  

65th Annual Award Reception and Banquet 

To be held virtually on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 6 P.M. CT 


1 (800) 292 5065 

About the American Bar Foundation

The American Bar Foundation (ABF) is among the world’s leading research institutes for the empirical and interdisciplinary study of law. The ABF seeks to expand knowledge and advance justice through innovative, interdisciplinary, and rigorous empirical research on law, legal processes, and legal institutions.  To further this mission the ABF will produce timely, cutting-edge research of the highest quality to inform and guide the legal profession, the academy, and society in the United States and internationally. The ABF’s primary funding is provided by the American Bar Endowment and the Fellows of The American Bar Foundation.

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