State & Local Government


Jefferson B. Fordham Awards

Now Accepting Nominations through Thursday, April 30

The Section of State and Local Government law elected Jefferson B. Fordham as the first Chair in 1949. During his years of outstanding service, the Section became the distinguished national resource for the advancement of State and Local Government Law practice.

Urban Solutions

His 1949 case book on Local Government Law revolutionized teaching and addressed dynamic legal issues such as planning and finance, housing and blight, transportation and congestion; in short, the entire range of urban problems whose solutions required a larger concept of community. He pioneered the concepts of home rule and the landmark decisions sustaining interdisciplinary studies under Bar sponsorship, and he was a visionary in teaching that the tough problems of local government did not lend themselves to simplistic solutions.

Jefferson B. Fordham Awards

In 1998, the ABA Section of State and Local Government Law was inspired to establish the Jefferson B. Fordham Awards to honor the accomplishments of practitioners and institutions active in the varied areas of practice associated with State and Local Government Law.

The Award may be presented in the following categories on an annual basis:

  • Lifetime Achievement
    Presented in recognition of outstanding contributions to the practice of state and local government law by an individual over an entire career, for contributions over a number of years of service.
  • Advocacy
    Presented in recognition of outstanding legal advocacy within the area of state and local government law, this award celebrates excellence in advocacy, both written and otherwise.
  • Up & Comers
    Presented to a young practitioner (36 or under) as defined by the ABA who, through their efforts and accomplishments, show great promise to continue these contributions for future achievements.
  • Law Office Accomplishment
    Presented in recognition of sustained outstanding performance or a specific extraordinary accomplishment by a State and Local Government Law Office. Eligible candidates include all State and Local Government Public Sector Law Offices, including departments or units within such offices.

Guidelines for Submission

Nominations for recipients in each of the four categories must be submitted in early spring in the following format with all the information requested:

  1. Nominee: Please submit as the cover sheet for the nomination package the full name, addresses and telephone numbers of the nominee.
  2. Employer: The nomination package must include the name of law office’s director or manager for the Government Law Office Award, including size of office and mission of office.
  3. Accomplishment: Provide a detailed summary of the nominee’s or office’s achievements, brief explanation of outstanding or extraordinary public and/or professional services rendered (50 to 100 words).
  4. Service: Please include an explanation of the nominee’s performance and service; information regarding the time frame for the services described; accomplishments or superior contributions over a number of years; outstanding advocacy or legal writing; qualifications as a young lawyer for the Up & Comer’s Award whose past efforts and accomplishments show great promise to continue contributions for future achievement; assessment of the impact of the service for which you are nominating the individual or office (no more than two typed pages).
  5. References: The nomination package must also include names, titles and phone numbers of three other persons (including at least one lawyer or jurist), who are familiar with the nominee’s performance, achievements, etc.
  6. Nominator: To assist the Award Committee’s evaluation, please also include a brief statement about the nominator’s background.
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Elizabeth Clark Young Lawyers Fellowship

Now Accepting Nominations through Thursday, April 30

A Pathway to Public Law for Diverse Young Lawyers

Elizabeth Clark was a highly respected leader of the State and Local Government Law Section with a passion for mentoring our young attorneys of color. As senior counsel at Allen Matkins in San Francisco, Elizabeth focused on renewable energy and sustainable development while dedicating a significant amount of her time to pro bono activities.

In her memory, we have put in place a prestigious fellowship with the explicit objective to profoundly sustain Elizabeth's commitment to bringing about a more inclusive legal profession. The Elizabeth Clark Young Lawyers Fellowship will be awarded to young lawyers whose past efforts and accomplishments show great promise for excellence in the practice of public law.

The award will be announced at the highly acclaimed Jefferson B. Fordham Award Luncheon held during the ABA's Annual Meeting. The Fellowship gives recipients access to:

  • Excellent educational and networking opportunities at the Section's meetings
  • Career advancement from writing articles for the Section’s publications
  • Highly respected mentors in the areas of law which Elizabeth so loved and enjoyed

Allen Matkins LLP Makes Generous Contribution

The Section of State & Local Government Law gratefully acknowledges Allen Matkins LLP  for its investment of $10,000 to the Elizabeth Clark Fellowship. This generous contribution will enable us to continue to provide diverse young attorneys, like Chhunny Chhean, with the opportunity to follow in Elizabeth's footsteps. We encourage Elizabeth's friends, family and colleagues to join in this effort to sustain this ongoing fellowship.


Your charitable contribution, designated to the Elizabeth Clark Young Lawyers Fellowship, will open the door for diverse young attorneys to participate fully in the Section of State and Local Government Law and in the legal profession overall.

Please make your generous contribution — online or by mail — to support the Elizabeth Clark Young Lawyers Fellowship this year and in those to come so it may continue perpetually. Thank You!

Elizabeth Clark Young Lawyers Fellowship
ABA Fund for Justice and Education

321 N Clark St, Floor 20
Chicago, IL 60654

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Award Winners

Daniel J. Curtin, Jr. Lifetime Achievement

  • 2020 Janice C. Griffith, Boston, MA
  • 2019Frank Schnidman, Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • 2018 – Adriane J. Dudley, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
  • 2017Dwight H. Merriam, Hartford, CT
  • 2016Ross Sandler, New York, NY
  • 2015Grant F. Langley, Milwaukee, WI
  • 2014Edward J. Sullivan, Portland, OR
  • 2014Larry C. Ethridge, Louisville, KY
  • 2012Stephen H. Pugh, Chicago, IL
  • 2011David E. Cardwell, Orlando, FL
  • 2010John W. Witt, San Diego, CA
  • 2009James Baird, Chicago, IL
  • 2008Milton H. Pachter, New York, NY
  • 2007Daniel R. Mandelker, St. Louis, MO

Daniel J. Curtin Lifetime Achievement

  • 2006David L. Callies, Honolulu, HI
  • 2005R. Theodore Clark, Jr, Chicago, IL
  • 2004Carol E. Dinkins, Houston, TX
  • 2003Daniel J. Curtin, Jr, Walnut Creek, CA
  • 2002Sharon Stanton White, Washington, DC
  • 2001Professor Sheldon H. Nahmod, Chicago, IL
  • 2000Patrick J. Falvey, Bronxville, NY
  • 1999S. Jerome Pratter, St. Louis, MO
  • 1998Jefferson Fordham


  • 2020 – Benjamin E. Griffith, Oxford, MS
  • 2019 – C. Elisia Frazier, Pooler, GA
  • 2018 – M. Travis Phelps, San Diego, CA
  • 2017Anita P. Miller, Albquerque, NM
  • 2016Michael Jenkins
  • 2015Z. Scott, Chicago, IL
  • 2014Thomas M. Menino, Boston, MA
  • 2013Craig R. Bucki, New York, NY
  • 2012Stephen J. Acquario, New York, NY
  • 2011Charles W. Thompson, Jr, Rockledge, FL
  • 2008David Sumner, Harrisburg, PA
  • 2007John Echeverria, Washington, DC
  • 2002Ann Miller Ravel and Office of the County Counsel, County of Santa Clara, San Jose, CA
  • 2001Mayor Dennis W. Archer, Detroit, MI
  • 2000Rodney L. Cobb, Atlanta, GA
  • 1999Charles S. Rhyne, McLean, VA
  • 1998Robert H. Freilich, Los Angeles, CA

Up & Comers

  • 2020 – Aubrey B. Coleman II, Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX
  • 2018 – Brian J. Connolly, Denver, CO
  • 2017Ashley N. Scott, Atlanta, GA
  • 2016Christopher Brown, Mansfield, OH
  • 2015Michael T. Kamprath, Tampa, FL
  • 2014Jessica Bacher, White Plains, NY
  • 2013Sorell E. Negro, Hartford, CT
  • 2012Sarah Weber Langlois, Houston, TX
  • 2009Amy Lavine, Albany, NY
  • 2007Carie A. Torrence, North Las Vegas, NV
  • 2006Bryan W. Wenter, Walnut Creek, CA
  • 2005Scott N. Houston, Austin, TX
  • 2004Keith W. Hirokawa, Fort Worth, TX
  • 2001Rosalba I. Arango, Reno, NV
  • 1999Ashley L. Taylor, Jr., Richmond, VA
  • 1998Patricia Salkin, Albany, NY

Law Office Accomplishment

  • 2019 – Knox County Public Defender's Community Law Office, Knoxville, TN 
  • 2017Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy Alternative Sentencing Worker Program
  • 2011Law Office of North Carolina Housing Finance Agency
  • 2010The City of Santa Monica City Attorney's Office
  • 2007Office of the City Attorney, San Francisco, CA
  • 2005International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA)
  • 2004City Attorney's Office of Reno, NV
  • 2003City of Chicago Department of Law
  • 2002U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of Municipal Securities
  • 2001Orange County Legal Department
  • 1998The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
    University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Law