Meet 12 ABA members who inspired us in 2021
The ABA Journal regularly profiles exceptional ABA members in its Members Who Inspire series. In the past year, we featured many in the legal field who are encouraging and energizing others with their good work, including advocating for inmates on death row, mentoring prospective law students of African descent and fighting to stop bullying in the workplace.
Mona Kaveh has represented nearly 30 foster children since she began volunteering with the Children’s Attorneys Project in Las Vegas in 2010. “It made me so happy that these kids had someone fighting for them,” says Kaveh, a partner at Kemp Jones. “I always say, as much as I try to advocate for these kids, I feel like they have changed my life so much and inspired me so much in return.”
Elizabeth Greene had been practicing with Mirick, O’Connell, DeMallie & Lougee in Worcester, Massachusetts, for two years in 1997 when she heard the American Heart Association wanted to rekindle its presence in her area. She has since helped create the organization’s Central Massachusetts board of directors and served as a leader for many of its initiatives and advocacy efforts.
Amy Breihan, the co-director of the St. Louis office of the Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center, helps seek second chances for prisoners in Missouri who were younger than age 18 when they were sentenced to life behind bars. In addition to representing individual clients, she served as lead counsel in a federal class action that pressed the Missouri Parole Board to reform its process for juvenile lifers.
Kelley Henry has served as the chief of the Capital Habeas Unit at the Federal Public Defender for the Middle District of Tennessee since 2003. “I see myself as someone who is defending the Sixth Amendment, the Eighth Amendment, the 14th Amendment, because if you say it’s OK to violate those rights because you just don’t like my guys, then your rights are next,” she says. “There are ways in which lawyers are part of that system of checks and balances. We’re a check on the government’s power.”
Brice Ngameni, an international student from Cameroon who attends Harvard Law School, helped create an organization called Pembe. Its mission is to break the “ivory ceiling” in the American legal system by pairing prospective law students of African descent with attorneys and law students who can help them prepare for the LSAT and advise them on the admissions process.
Rajesh Reddy, the director of the Global Animal Law Program and the Animal Law Advanced Degree Program at Lewis & Clark Law School’s Center for Animal Law Studies, is the co-author of a resolution and report based on the idea that better and consistent treatment of animals can help prevent zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19. The ABA adopted the measure at the midyear meeting in February.
Emily Benfer has focused on tracking eviction moratoria, researching the effects of COVID-19 evictions on racial health equity and advocating for interventions to provide communities hardest hit by the pandemic with financial support and legal protections since March 2020. “Racial, housing and health justice are inseparable,” she says. “Justice in any of these areas requires justice in all of them.”
Tara Koslov, the deputy director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition, has enjoyed getting to know the people who practice antitrust law through the ABA and often explains to other government lawyers that these relationships transcend the association. She has been active in the Antitrust Law Section for 24 years, serving not only as a mentor but as a longtime editor and leader.
Emily Dillan serves as the ABA’s Law Student Division liaison to the Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence. In this role, the 2L wants to introduce other law students to trauma-informed interviewing, a concept at the center of a professional development workshop series she helped create for the University of Massachusetts School of Law.
Judge Neil Axel works with the ABA’s Judicial Outreach Liaison and Judicial Fellows Program to educate judges nationwide on issues involving impaired driving offenses; evidence-based sentencing practices to reduce recidivism; and the impact of the legalization of marijuana on highway safety. He also works with the program’s nine regional JOLs and 22 state JOLs, all of whom provide training on highway safety issues to courts in their areas.
David Yamada, a professor at Suffolk University Law School, published a seminal law review article on workplace bullying in the Georgetown Law Journal and drafted model legislation to give severely bullied workers a claim for damages and incentivize employers to prevent and respond to bullying behaviors to minimize their liability. Since 2003, more than 30 states have considered variations of the bill.
August Hieber created Proud to Thrive, the first program in Chicago specifically designed to provide culturally responsive legal advocacy to LGBT older adults. Hieber recognized this population is less likely to access resources because of past experiences with discrimination and worked with the Center for Disability & Elder Law to host legal clinics and train other legal professionals on how to offer services.
Members Who Inspire is an ABA Journal series profiling exceptional ABA members. If you know members who do unique and important work, you can nominate them for this series by emailing [email protected]