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Professor Kaaryn Gustafson and Professor Mario L. Barnes to Receive the 2023 ABF Fellows Outstanding Scholar Award

February 3, 2023, Press releases

CHICAGO, February 3 - University of California Irvine School of Law (UCI Law) Professors Kaaryn Gustafson and Mario L. Barnes will jointly receive the 2023 Outstanding Scholar Award from the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation (ABF). The award will be presented during the 67th Annual Fellows Award Reception and Banquet, which will be held in New Orleans on February 4, 2023. 

The Outstanding Scholar Award is given to individuals who engaged in outstanding scholarship in law or government. This year, the ABF will recognize Professor Gustafson and Professor Barnes, co-directors of UCI Law’s Center on Law, Equality, and Race (CLEAR) 

"The ABF is honored to recognize both Kaaryn and Mario with this award,” said Darrell Mottley, National Chair of the ABF Fellows. “Through engaged scholarship and service to the legal profession, these longtime colleagues have collaborated on research revealing inequities of access to justice based on race, gender, and economics, as well as the role of law and policy in mitigating these injustices.”  

Professor Kaaryn Gustafson is a UCI Professor of Law and Associate Dean of Academic Community. Her research is interdisciplinary and explores the role of law in remedyingand reinforcinginequality. Over the last decade, she had focused on the expanding administrative overlap between the welfare and criminal justice systems, as well as the experiences of those individuals and families caught in those systems. Her current research explores the history of law in regulating African American families and labor among poor people of various ethnic backgrounds. 

At UCI, she is also a member of the Center for the Study of Cannabis, where she explores the collateral consequences of criminalization, and the UCI Community Resilience Projects, where she serves as a Faculty Advisor. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Law & Society Association (LSA) 

“I am humbled and sincerely honored to be recognized by the American Bar Foundation,” said Professor Gustafson. “The scholars affiliated with the ABF tend to be those building strong bridges across disciplinary divides and delving deeply into important questions about law. I feel fortunate to be part of this community.” 

Mario L. Barnes is a UCI Professor of Law. He served as the Dean and Professor of Law at the University of Washington before returning to his position at UCI in 2022. He is a nationally recognized scholar for his research on the legal and social implications of race and gender, primarily in the areas of employment, education, criminal and military law. He is one of the leaders within the school of academics seeking to build stronger connections between empirical studies and Critical Race Theory. He writes and teaches in the areas of criminal law, constitutional law, national security law, and race and the law. 

Prior to his academic career, Professor Barnes spent 12 years on active duty in the U.S. Navy, including service as a prosecutor, defense counsel, special assistant U.S. attorney, and on the commission investigating the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen. His reserve assignments included the Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command in San Diego, the Navy Inspector General's Office in Washington, D.C., and U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa, FL. He retired from the Navy in 2013, after 23 years of combined active and reserve service. 

Professor Barnes is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, an elected member of the American Law Institute, and a Distinguished Fellow of the National Institute of Military Justice. He received the AALS Clyde Ferguson Award in 2015 and was honored with the AALS Derrick A. Bell Jr. Award in 2008. He earned his bachelor's degree and a J.D. from UC Berkeley, where he was Managing Editor and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the African-American Law & Policy Report (now Berkeley Journal of African-American Law and Policy). He earned an LL.M. from the University of Wisconsin (2004), where he was a William H. Hastie Teaching Fellow. 

"I am humbled and deeply honored to receive this recognition from the American Bar Foundation,” said Professor Barnes. “Being recognized alongside Professor Gustafson, a longtime friend and colleague whose work I admire greatly, makes the honor even more special. As an ABF Fellow and former Visiting Scholar, my scholarship has been significantly impacted by the organization's impeccable faculty and innovative interdisciplinary research studies. When I look at the incredibly talented list of prior awardees, receiving this award encourages me to redouble my efforts to produce law and inequality scholarship that is built upon sociolegal research and steeped in critical perspectives." 


About the American Bar Foundation 

The American Bar Foundation (ABF) is the world’s leading research institute 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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