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The American Bar Foundation Hosts Celebration Honoring 30 years of Diversity Fellowship

September 28, 2018, Press releases

CHICAGO, Sept. 28, 2018 — To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Montgomery Summer Research Diversity Fellowship (SRDF), the American Bar Foundation (ABF) will host a celebration dinner on Oct. 25, 2018 from 6:30–9:30 p.m. at the Drake Hotel in Chicago. The ABF board of directors, faculty and alumni of the program will gather to recognize the impact of the ABF’s signature diversity program.

Since 1988, 122 undergraduate students have completed the SRDF, an annual summer research fellowship for students from diverse backgrounds interested in pursuing graduate studies in the social sciences or law. This intensive, hands-on research experience introduces students to the rewards and demands of a research-oriented career in the fields of law and social science.

Since its founding more than 65 years ago, the ABF has been a leader on research and programming that supports understanding and overcoming barriers that women, people of color, people with disabilities and people from the LGBTQ community find in practice and before the law. Through the SRDF program and its alumni, the ABF has had a measurable effect on the diversity of leaders in the legal, business and policymaking fields.

The ABF will present the inaugural Montgomery Summer Fellow Distinguished Alumnus Award to one such alumna, Danielle Holley-Walker (SRDF 1995), Dean and Professor of Law at Howard University School of Law. Prior to becoming dean, Holley-Walker clerked for Chief Judge Carl E. Stewart of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, practiced civil litigation at Fulbright & Jaworski LLP and was a Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of South Carolina.

“We are incredibly excited to be celebrating 30 years of the SRDF program,” said ABF Executive Director Ajay H. Mehrotra. “We look forward to honoring our distinguished alumni and eagerly look ahead to many more years of shaping the future of empirical and interdisciplinary law and social science research.”

The keynote speaker for the evening is Tina Tchen, partner at the Chicago office of Buckley Sandler LLP. Tchen is a former assistant to President Barack Obama, Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls, and Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama. She is a leader of Buckley Sandler’s Workplace Cultural Compliance Practice, counseling companies on issues related to gender discrimination, sexual harassment and diversity in the workplace.

“By inviting undergraduate students to participate in such a hands-on diversity program at such a decisive stage in their lives, the ABF has had a critical impact not only on their personal career development but also the greater fields of law and social science,” said David S. Houghton, president of the ABF board of directors. “The ABF board of directors and our sponsors are proud to support the continued growth and progress of the program.”

The event is made possible through the generous support of the following sponsors: Law School Admission Council (Platinum Sponsor); Walmart and the Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Foundation (Gold Sponsors); Kirkland & Ellis, LLP, United Airlines, AccessLex Institute, Michael Byowitz and Ruth Holzer, Jimmy and Deborah Goodman, David S. and Debra Houghton, and Reginald and Marcia Turner (Silver Sponsors).

Event details:

WHAT:      30th Anniversary Celebration of the Montgomery Summer Research Diversity Fellowship Program
WHEN:     October 25, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
WHERE:   The Drake Hotel
                    140 E. Walton Place
                    Chicago, IL

This is a ticketed event. For more information about purchasing tickets or sponsoring this event, please visit

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. An independent, nonprofit organization for more than 60 years, 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.

Find a PDF of this press release here

Posted by Whitney Peterson

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