While we are unable to meet in person, we are recognizing the extraordinary contributions of our award winners at this virtual event. We hope to see you there!
Now On-Demand: A Virtual Celebration
Our leaders opened with brief remarks. The program included a keynote address by Illinois Attorney General Kaume Raoul, with remarks by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, and remarks from each of our winners. Attendees across the country toasted our award winners from their homes. We may be far apart from each other, but we will all come together to celebrate the exceptional contributions these lawyers have made to our profession.
Watch our on-demand 2020 Jefferson Fordham Awards celebration.
Congratulations to this year's Jefferson Fordham winners!
- Lifetime Achievement
Janice C. Griffith (bio), Professor of Law
Suffolk University Law School, Boston, MA
Benjamin E. Griffith, PLLC (bio),
Griffith Law Firm, Oxford, MS
- Up & Comers
Aubrey B. Coleman II (bio), Government Relations Advisor - Technology & Operations
T-Mobile, Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
Illinois Attorney General Kaume Raoul (D) was sworn in as the 42nd Attorney General of Illinois in January 2019. Raoul was born in Chicago to Haitian immigrants and brings a lifetime of legal and policy experience, advocacy, and public service to the Office of the Attorney General.
As a legislator and an attorney, Attorney General Raoul has been dedicated to working towards criminal justice reform in Illinois. In addition to spearheading the abolition of the death penalty, he sponsored numerous diversion and second-chance programs for non-violent offenders and expedited the process of record expungement for juveniles. He pushed through landmark law enforcement reform, including standards for police officer-worn body cameras and a statewide database of officers under investigation. Raoul also passed a comprehensive criminal justice reform package aimed at reducing gun violence by cracking down on repeat offenders while helping first-time violators find their way back into law-abiding society. Raoul has been recognized for his work on behalf of survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, which includes passage of the Safe Homes Act and the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights.
See complete bio.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) became the 56th Mayor of the City of Chicago on May 20, 2019. Her campaign’s call for an ethical and responsive government and opportunities for all Chicagoans resonated in every ward of the city. She carries the watchwords of her campaign into office: Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, Transparency, Accountability, and Transformation.
Mayor Lightfoot came to City Hall following a career as a manager, advocate, and reform expert, with extensive experience working at the city and federal level to make government more accountable and accessible. Before taking office, she served as a senior equity partner in the Litigation and Conflict Resolution Group at Mayer Brown LLP. While at Mayer Brown, Mayor Lightfoot took on two critical tasks for the City of Chicago, chairing the Police Accountability Task Force, and serving as president of the Chicago Police Board.
See complete bio.
There was no cost to attend the awards program. In lieu of ticket prices we ask for contributions to our Jefferson Fordham support fund and/ or Elizabeth Clark Young Lawyers Fellowship program. Donations can be made from $2,500 to $25 or at a level you feel comfortable.
Become a Sponsor
Show your organization's commitment to the advancement of lawyers by sponsoring the virtual Jefferson Fordham Awards ceremony. Information about sponsorship, which may also be tax deductible, can be found on our website. Thank you in advance for your generosity in supporting our work and furthering our outstanding honorees' legacy.
For questions about the Jefferson Fordham Awards, contact Marsha Boone.
All 2020 State & Local Annual Meeting CLE Sessions Now On-Demand!
Now On-Demand - Vote by Mail
Vote by Mail, Early Voting and Digitized Election Administration
Among the casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic are presidential primary elections, with renewed debate over whether Vote-by-Mail should be an available option in every state before the 2020 presidential election in order to help protect the health and well-being of voters and election workers. Over 16 states have delayed some elections or allowed citizens to vote by mail with an extension of deadlines, and many officials in both parties at the state & local level are pressing for these changes.
While the President has warned that such changes might lead to levels of voting that would hurt him and his party, charges of massive voter fraud are now being made in an effort to challenge the safety and relability of the VBM option, setting up a classic conflict between strict insistence on in-person voting and the need to protect citizens from exposure to the deadly virus, a dilemma that was recently played out in the April 6, 2020 elections held in Wisconsin — with surprising results following intervention by the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Benjamin E. Griffith, Griffith Law Firm PLLC, Oxford, MS
- John H. (Jack) Young, Senior Counsel, Sandler Reiff, Rehoboth Beach, DE
- Peter Miller, Ph.D., Researcher, New York University School of Law, New York, NY
- Paul Gronke, Ph.D., Professor, Reed College Portland, OR
- Charles Herbert Bell Jr., Senior Partner, Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk LLP, Sacramento, CA
- Nicole Austin-Hillery, Human Rights Watch, Washington, DC
- Rebecca Green, Professor, William & Mary Law School, Williamsburg, VA
Now On-Demand - Obama Presidential Center in Public Parks
Obama Presidential Center in Public Parks: Does the Public Trust Doctrine Prevent It?
Identification and permitted uses on land impressed with the Public Trust Doctrine as defined by the USSCT in its famous 19th century Illinois Central decision is the focus of this program. PTD designation has become a background principle of a state’s law of property providing a safe haven for government preventing all economically beneficial use of PTD land without liability for a regulatory taking under Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Commission.
- David Lee Callies, Professor, University of Hawaii School of Law, Honolulu, HI
- Richard Brian Epstein, New York, NY
- Lee Ann Finnell, Professor, University of Chicago Law School
- Thomas F Geselbracht, DLA Piper, Chicago, IL
Now On-Demand - Emergency & Police Power
Emergency & Police Power Property Claims in Times of Crisis
On the eve of the centennial of Pennsylvania Coal Co. v. Mahon (US 1922), this panel will revisit the question: How far can the police power be stretched to protect the public against dangers? The panel will evaluate the scope of state and local authority to respond to emergencies and the implications for private property rights — asking, how far is too far? What is the scope of implied limitations on private property rights in times of crisis? When does the diminution of existing property rights require compensation? Can local governments respond to a crisis without delegated authority or in defiance of state mandates? What rights do property owners/ landlords/ tenants have to privately respond in times of crisis?
- Robert H Thomas, Partner, Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert, Honolulu, HI
- John R. Nolon, Professor, Elisabeth Haub School of Law, Tarrytown, NY
Now On-Demand - Cannabis
Cannabis & Regulating Social Equity
Illinois legalized recreational cannabis in 2019, and has authorized licensee to be issued in 2020. Illinois’ legislation is unique in that social equity was central to its creation. The legislation’s goal is to encourage the participation of those who were disproportionately and negatively impacted by cannabis prohibition. Throughout the law there are requirements to give social equity businesses and employees priority over others.
- Donna J Pugh, Partner, Foley & Lardner LLP, Chicago, IL
- Toi Walker Hutchinson, Director of Business Development, Viola Brands, Olympia Fields, IL
- Jamil Taylor, Director of Business Development, Viola Brands, Chicago, IL
- Benjamin Stearns, Associate, Carlton Fields Tallahassee, FL
Now On-Demand - Public Protests
After George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police officers, public protests exploded across the United States. At times, those demonstrations resembled the peaceful methods of Martin Luther King Jr. & the nonviolent marches of Vietnam War protesters. At other times, the George Floyd protests resembled the obstructionist methods of the Occupy Wall Street movement, featuring the blockading of bridges and interstate highways.
Our law of public protest — with its extraordinary protections for those who seek municipal permits before engaging in mass demonstrations and marches — was created largely in response to the methods of protest employed in the Civil Rights & Vietnam War eras. Our law is not so well adapted to the methods employed by Occupy Wall Street, and those methods have been on display in some of the recent Black Lives Matter protests.
The first of a three-part series on speech & expression will examine:
- the future regulation of public protest
- the existing law of public protest and adaptability to modern protests
- the enormous challenges that modern protest methods create for municipalities and police departments
- how courts will likely review the street-level, moment-by-moment decision-making of police officers who confront spontaneous demonstrations conducted without a permit
- Juan Raudrick Thomas, Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer
- Van R. Johnson, Mayor, Savannah, GA
- Kevin F. O'Neill, Associate Professor of Law, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
- Jeri Williams, Police Chief, Phoenix, AZ
Now On-Demand - DACA & International Human Rights
In a time of rising nationalism and increased reluctance to admit immigrants and refugees into traditional safe harbors, the work of human rights clinics and advocacy groups has never been more important. Following the recent Supreme Court ruling upholding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, this session will address:
- the next challenges for immigration rights in the US
- the forces that create refugee populations
Learn what has changed in the legal landscape of immigration and asylum seekers, and what new approaches are being taken to ensure the sanctity of human rights across the country and overseas.
- Jordan Anthony Lesser, Legal Counsel, New York State Assembly, Albany, NY
- Claudia Maria Flores, Director, International Human Rights Clinic, Chicago, IL
- Kica Matos
- Ian Matthew Kysel
Resolutions Presented at House of Delegates
Find all House of Delegates Resolutions co-sponosored by the Section of State & Local Government Law at the 2020 ABA Annual Meeting.