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August 19, 2020

ABA to honor three attorneys at virtual event celebrating government law efforts

WASHINGTON, Aug. 19, 2020 — The American Bar Association Section of State and Local Government Law will honor Suffolk Law School professor Janice C. Griffith, Mississippi lawyer Benjamin E. Griffith and T-Mobile government relations advisor Aubrey B. Coleman II with Jefferson B. Fordham Awards at a virtual celebration Friday, Aug. 21 at 4 .m. EDT.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will give remarks. Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul will be the keynote speaker.

“Each of these honorees, in their own way, has advanced the practice of state and local government law for the benefit of the communities in which they serve,” said Marti Chumbler, chair of the Section of State and Local Government Law. “They are role models for all state and local government law practitioners.”

The Jefferson B. Fordham Awards are the highest honors given by the ABA Section of State and Local Government Law since 1998. The awards honor the accomplishments of those who have been active in the various areas of state and local government law. The award is named for the section’s first chair in 1949. Fordham diligently served and made the section the national resource for the advancement of State and Local Government Law practice.

The Jefferson B. Fordham awardees are:

Lifetime Achievement Award (Jefferson B. Fordham, Daniel J. Curtin, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award) is 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 several years of service.

  • Janice C. Griffith is a professor of law at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, where she previously served as vice president for Academic Affairs of Suffolk University.  Her career spans various universities including Georgia State University College of Law; Quinnipiac University School of Law and the University of Bridgeport School of Law. She was a visiting Scholar at Yale Law School, and an American Council on Education Fellow at Ohio State University.

    Nationally recognized for her work in state and local government law, Griffith has published extensively in her area of expertise, including articles on the sharing economy, federalism, housing, public finance, land use, home rule, open space protection, comparative urban law, and regional governance. Griffith is one of the authors of multiple editions of a leading casebook entitled “State and Local Government in a Federal System”.

    Griffith received her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School and an A.B. degree from Colby College.  She holds bar memberships in Connecticut and New York.

Advocacy Award is 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.

  • Benjamin E. Griffith is the Principal of Griffith Law Firm in Oxford, Mississippi. He received his J.D. from the University of Mississippi School of Law, and his B.A. from the University of Mississippi.  For the past 45 years, Griffith’s practice has focused on federal and state civil litigation, with emphasis on voting rights and election law, civil rights defense, insurance defense, public sector insurance coverage, and environmental law. He has represented over 60 municipalities, counties, and school districts in Mississippi and has served as lead counsel for public entities in seven other states within the Fourth, Fifth and Eleventh Circuits.

    A global speaker on topics concerning anti-corruption, government transparency, cybersecurity, and electoral access, his books include the four editions of “America Votes! Challenges to Modern Election Law and Voting Rights” (ABA 1st ed. 2008; e-Supp. 2009, 2nd ed. 2012, 3rd ed. 2016, 4th ed. 2020)(Editor and chapter author), “Voting Rights and Remedies from an International Perspective” contained in International Election Remedies (J. Young, Editor, ABA 2017), “Effective, Timely, Appropriate, and Enforceable Remedies” (co-author).

Up & Comers Award is presented 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.

  • Aubrey B. Coleman II is a native of Birmingham, Alabama. He earned his J.D. from the University of Alabama, where he also earned his B.S. degree and Master of Science in Civil Engineering degree. B.S.  Coleman enrolled in the master’s program while taking law classes, to specialize in infrastructure legal policy, understanding that the nation needs leaders who could understand technical and legal concepts to help develop policy aimed at reinvigorating America’s national infrastructure.  He leads a team that develops policy framework alongside elected officials to support the launch of the 5G wireless network throughout Texas.

    Through his volunteer work and service, Coleman works to ensure that people are treated the same regardless of socioeconomic status.

To register for the online event, contact Betsy Adeboyejo at [email protected]  or (202) 662-1039. Upon registration, you will receive a Zoom link for the meeting.

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.