ABA Journal

Members Who Inspire

44 ABA Journal Members Who Inspire articles.

Meet a health justice advocate working to prevent evictions during COVID-19 pandemic

Since March 2020, Emily Benfer has focused on tracking eviction moratoria, researching the effects of COVID-19 evictions on racial health equity and advocating for interventions to help provide communities hardest hit by the pandemic with financial support and legal protections. “Racial, housing and health justice are inseparable,” Benfer says. “Justice in any of these areas requires justice in all of them.”

Could international animal rights laws prevent the next pandemic? Rajesh Reddy has a plan

“You can be vigilant in how you work to prevent zoonotic diseases and spillovers from different species, but that doesn’t help you if your neighbors aren’t following the same rules and protocols,” says Rajesh Reddy.

Brice Ngameni helps support prospective law students of African descent

“We think that one of the biggest challenges that people from our background face when applying to law school is access and information, and these are things that can be addressed,” says Brice Ngameni, president and co-founder of Pembe, a mentoring group for people of African descent. “If you just have the right people matched up with the right folks, you can easily make up for that disparity.”

Kelley Henry is a champion for death row inmates

For ABA member Kelley Henry, advocating for people on death row isn’t just a job. She wants to help fix what she sees as a broken system, and she loves the Constitution. “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.”

Amy Breihan has dedicated her career to helping juvenile lifers seek parole

It’s been nearly nine years since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama that mandatory life without parole for juveniles violates the Eighth Amendment. It’s been five years since it held in Montgomery v. Louisiana that its 2012 decision was retroactive. In that time, Amy Breihan has helped seek second chances for prisoners in Missouri who were younger than age 18 when they were sentenced to life behind bars.

Elizabeth Greene aims to prevent heart disease and stroke in central Massachusetts

Elizabeth Greene had been practicing with Mirick, O’Connell, DeMallie & Lougee in Worcester, Massachusetts, for two years in 1997 when she heard about a new opportunity. She received an email from a partner who volunteered with the American Heart Association but was moving on to other projects. He told her the organization wanted to rekindle its presence in central Massachusetts and needed someone’s help.

Mona Kaveh gives a voice to foster children in Las Vegas

Mona Kaveh has represented nearly 30 foster children since she began volunteering with the Children’s Attorneys Project in 2010. “It made me so happy that these kids had someone fighting for them. 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. What they have been through and what they are still able to achieve is so inspiring.”

Meet 14 ABA members who inspired us in 2020

Throughout the year, the ABA Journal profiles exceptional ABA members in its Members Who Inspire series. In 2020, we featured attorneys from across the country whose important and influential work includes using visual storytelling for legal advocacy, bringing attention to the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women, and combating racial injustice and inequity.

Laura Farber gives her all to both local and national causes like the Tournament of Roses

After more than 25 years of service, Laura Farber became the first Latina and third woman to serve as president of the Tournament of Roses. She selected the theme, “The Power of Hope,” for the 2020 celebration, which she says was based on her own life story but still resonates amid the COVID-19 pandemic and divisiveness in the country.

Years of service: Mark Daniel Maloney reflects on journey with Rotary International

“It is an opportunity to connect while you are doing good in the world,” says Mark Daniel Maloney, a member of Blackburn, Maloney and Schuppert and now the immediate past president of Rotary International. “It is wonderful to be a volunteer, but you go in and you perform the service, and you leave.”

NAPABA president Bonnie Lee Wolf’s efforts against anti-Asian discrimination draw support of ABA, other groups

“Now is a time to stand with the African American community against what has been going on for decades, centuries, to show unity and solidarity from the Asian American community,” Wolf says. “What’s encouraging is that it seems like people are listening, and we can be part of that driving force to see real action and real change.”

First Black Oregon Supreme Court justice blazes a trail for lawyers—and students

On a hot day in June 2019, Oregon Supreme Court Justice Adrienne Nelson stood up and made a promise to her community. “This is going to be a place where students know they are enough, and they can build from that and grow from that,” she said.

Two young Native American lawyers call for action on missing and murdered indigenous women

Lauren van Schilfgaarde and Heather Torres introduced the ABA to the missing and murdered indigenous women crisis in February by first sharing the stories of those who suffered. Those stories resonated with the ABA House of Delegates.

Men of Color Project co-chairs lead conversations on racial injustice

“It came down to ‘How do we support this cause?’” says Jerome Crawford, co-chair of the ABA’s Men of Color Project. “We recognized that we represent a unique constituency that needed to be spoken up for. The issues that we’re talking about disproportionately affect men in communities of color, particularly Black and brown men.”

Lawyer certified as emergency medical technician calls on his experience during COVID-19 crisis

“I am able to use my skills to help with the board, to help with meal organization, and to help with providing supplemental staffing at a time when more than ever an EMT is needed,” says lawyer Christopher Jennison, an ABA member, employment and labor counsel with the Federal Aviation Administration, and assembly clerk of the ABA’s Young Lawyers Division.

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