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July 29, 2021

Law professor Joyce Hughes to receive ABA Margaret Brent Award

CHICAGO, July 29, 2021 – Joyce Hughes, a professor of law at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law in Chicago, is a recipient of the American Bar Association’s 2021 Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award.

Hughes will receive the award, given annually by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, at a virtual ceremony at 4 p.m. CDT Thursday, Aug. 5 during the 2021 ABA Hybrid Annual Meeting

In addition to Hughes, the 2021 award recipients include Irma Gonzalez, Joan Haratani, Pamela Karlan and Ellen Rosenblum.

“These five distinguished women are role models for all women in the legal profession. We honor their achievements and look forward to celebrating with them at the virtual 2021 Margaret Brent Awards ceremony,” said Maureen Mulligan, chair of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession.

Hughes has taught law at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law since 1979. Before that, she was an associate professor of law (1976-1979) and a visiting associate professor of law (1975-1976). She also was an associate professor of law at University of Minnesota (1971-1975), and a visiting professor of law at University of California Hastings College of Law in 1991.

Hughes has taught courses in banking law, civil procedure, evidence, 14th Amendment, immigration law, legal profession, preventive land law, real estate, refugees and asylum, and trial practice.

She is a member of the American Bar Association, the Black Women Lawyers of Greater Chicago, Cook County Bar Association and the National Bar Association. In 1983, Hughes was appointed to the Transition Committee on Educational Policy, Public Safety and Administrative Policy by former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington. She was also appointed to the Chicago Board of Education by former Mayor Jane M. Byrne in 1980, and to the Governor’s Council on Jobs and the Illinois Economy by former Gov. James R. Thompson. In 1977, she was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the U.S. Delegation to Belgrade, Yugoslavia on the Helsinki Accord.

Hughes currently serves on the advisory committee for the Chicago chapter of the American Constitution Society. She graduated magna cum laude from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, received her certificate as a Fulbright Scholar from the University of Madrid and graduated cum laude from the University of Minnesota School of Law.

The ABA Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award, established in 1991, honors outstanding women lawyers who have achieved professional excellence in their area of specialty and have actively paved the way to success for other women in the profession. The award is named for Margaret Brent, the first woman lawyer in America. Brent arrived in the colonies in 1638 and was involved in 124 court cases in more than eight years, winning every case.

Click here for a photo of Hughes.

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.