This month, the School of Law’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion hosted an exclusive screening of the new HBO documentary, “The Undocumented Lawyer.” The 20-minute film provides a window into the life and work of Lizbeth Mateo, a licensed California attorney and undocumented U.S. immigrant, who is fighting for asylum seekers and immigration reform.
Following the screening, Mateo and film director Chris Temple, joined a virtual Q&A moderated by Professor Amy Kimpel to share their insights about the film and discuss the legal challenges faced by undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers.
Mateo moved to the U.S. with her family as a teenager. They came together with the hope of living a better life, though they recognized it wouldn’t be easy. Mateo’s mom warned her to not tell others that she is undocumented, so she kept quiet about her immigration status until she met other undocumented students while in college.
Realizing that the only way she could keep her family safe was by sharing her story and fighting for rights of others who are undocumented, Mateo joined and organized activist movements and then went on to become an immigration attorney. In response to those who may question how an undocumented immigrant can become a lawyer, she cited that the state of California doesn’t limit individuals from practicing law if they are able to pass the bar and meet all other necessary licensing requirements. Mateo has met those requirements and made a pledge to uphold the constitution—even though the U.S. doesn’t recognize her as a citizen.
In her work, Mateo takes on cases that she feels have the potential influence immigration policy for years to come. While Mateo’s own immigration case has recently been re-opened by ICE to start her deportation proceedings, she plans to continue to fight for reform for as long as she is able.
Professor Fredrick Vars shared his unique take on a piece of legislation that could help protect people at risk of suicide.
Professor Shahar Dillbary of The University of Alabama School of Law and Professor Griffin Edwards of the Collat School of Business at The University of Alabama, Birmingham were named the Dukeminier Awards’ Stu Walter Prize winners for their co-authored article, “An Empirical Analysis of Sexual Orientation Discrimination,” 86 U. Chi. L. Rev. 1 (2019). The Dukeminier Awards are bestowed annually by The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law in recognition of the best law review articles concerning sexual orientation and gender identity.
The study produced by Dillbary and Edwards is the first to empirically demonstrate widespread discrimination across the United States based on perceived sexual orientation, sex, and race in the mortgage lending process. From an analysis of more than five million mortgage applications, their findings reveal that any FHA loan application filed by same-sex male co-applicants is significantly less likely to be approved compared to the white heterosexual baseline (holding lending risk constant). The most likely explanation for this pattern is sexual orientation based discrimination — despite the fact that FHA loans are the only type of loan in which discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited.
Professor Deepa Das Acevedo was quoted on AL.com discussing worker protections during COVID-19. You can read the full article titled “Alabama workers may see more COVID-19 protections under Biden Administration” here.
Sign up to join us virtually on February 26 for our annual Alabama Law Alumni Society Banquet. A reception will begin at 6 p.m. CT, with the award ceremony to follow 7 p.m. CT. Two new awards —the Alabama Law Hall of Honor and the Rising Young Attorney Award—will be presented at this year’s ceremony alongside the annual Sam W. Pipes Distinguished Alumnus Award.
The Sam W. Pipes Award is the highest honor bestowed by the School of Law, and it is given to an outstanding alumnus or alumna who has distinguished himself or herself through service to the Bar, The University of Alabama, and the School of Law. This year, the Managing Committee of the Board of Governors of the Law School Foundation is proud to announce Mr. Frank M. Bainbridge as the 2021 Sam W. Pipes Distinguished Alumnus Award Winner.
Frank M. Bainbridge took his LL.B. (now known as a J.D.) from The University of Alabama School of Law in 1956. He is a partner with Bainbridge, Mims, Rogers & Smith in Birmingham, Alabama, and he has practiced law for more than fifty years—representing individuals, small businesses, and closely held corporations. Bainbridge is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a charter member of the Atticus Finch Society of the Alabama State Bar, a recipient of the Lawyer of the Year Award from the Birmingham Bar Association, and a recipient of the Lawyer of the Year Award from the Black Law Students Association (BLSA). He has also been repeatedly listed in Best Lawyers in America.
Alabama Law Hall of Honor Inductees
The Alabama Law Hall of Honor is an award established by the Board of Governors of the Law School Foundation that recognizes individuals who have contributed significantly to the legal profession and to the Law school over an extended period of time. In this inaugural year, the Board of Governors of the Law School Foundation is proud to announce the 2021 inductees:
Sharonda Childs Fancher took her J.D. from The University of Alabama School of Law, and she is an associate with Baker Donelson where she has built a thriving legal practice advising clients on a variety of employment matters. Previously, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Inge P. Johnson, Senior United States District Judge for the Northern District of Alabama. Fancher has been listed among the Best Lawyers in America “Ones to Watch,” was named the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s 2015 Birmingham Woman of the Year, and has provided pro bono legal assistance to the United States Conference of Mayors and other organizations seeking to add the ERA as the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Shaila Dewan of the The New York Times highlighted Professor Joyce Vance’s insights on the potential charges stemming from the Capitol siege. Read the full article title “People Died at the Capitol. Will Rioters Be Charged With Murder?” here.
Professor Tara Leigh Grove’s insights on the history of “court packing” was highlighted on CNN. You can read the article titled “Biden’s Supreme Court Commission Set to Launch as Some Liberals are Eager to Pack the Court” here.
Professor Adam Steinman shared his insights in as recent Bloomberg Law article discussing the “doctrinal puzzle” of what to do with an adverse judgment from a lower court that the losing party no longer has the ability to challenge. Read the full Bloomberg Law article here.
Professor Tara Leigh Grove is quoted in USA TODAY discussing the upcoming Senate impeachment trial.