Congratulations to the 2016 Law and Society Association Award Winners!

The awards are presented at the LSA Annual Meeting
Association Luncheon and Award Ceremony
in New Orleans on Saturday, June 4 at noon.


Winners and Basis for Award

Harry J. Kalven, Jr. Prize 

For empirical scholarship that has contributed to the advancement of research in law and society.




Mariana Valverde
University of Toronto

Professor Mariana Valverde’s body of scholarship exemplifies the ideal of interdisciplinary engagement. She deftly moves between grounded empirical examinations of everyday contestations in legal regulation to deeply theoretical scholarship that draws from that empirical work to advance our understanding of socio-legal phenomena. Professor Valverde’s research has been instrumental in advancing critical legal theory by focusing on the actual workings of law and its intersection with other forms of governance. She highlights the importance of questioning the role and practice of legal knowledge, urban governance, and scale and jurisdiction. Her work in urban law and governance underscores how municipal and local governance, while seemingly claiming to advance diversity and multiculturalism, is indeed reproducing long-held inequalities. Woven throughout her scholarship is an exploration of how local legal frameworks and structures perpetuate the social exclusion of diverse community groups.

Wielding with equal ease the tools of social, political, and literary theory, feminist critique, historical and comparative inquiry, and even, when the occasion calls for it, nuanced legal doctrinal analysis, Professor Valverde is an interdisciplinary scholar in the best law and society tradition, and inspires others to show a similar impatience with calcified disciplinary and institutional boundaries and orthodox narratives and methods in the pursuit of original and meaningful insight. Her newest book, Chronotopes of Law: Jurisdiction, Scale, and Governance (2015), which examines the spatio-temporal working of law by teasing out the impact of legal temporality and space, does just that. She highlights the contradictory rationalities of governance that often coexist in law. The work does not merely provide an analysis of abstract legal concepts, rather it develops analytical tools that have proven useful in examining how regulation affects everyday life. The originality and importance of her interdisciplinary sociolegal scholarship has not been lost on the Association. She has twice been awarded the Herbert Jacobs Book Prize, for Diseases of the Will: Alcohol and the Dilemmas of Freedom, in 2000, and for Everyday Law on the Street: City Governance in an Age of Diversity, in 2013.

J. Willard Hurst Prize

For the best book in socio-legal history published in 2015.

batlanFelice Batlan
Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago-Kent College of Law

Women and Justice for the Poor: A History of Legal Aid, 1863–1945
Cambridge University Press 2015

In Women and Justice for the Poor, Felice Batlan reconstructs a lost history of legal aid in the United States. Building on extensive and creative archival research, she pushes beyond traditional narratives of the early history of legal aid and accepted definitions of the meaning of legal work. She shows how in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries women’s organizations became leading providers of legal aid in major cities across the United States.

Batlan then examines the dramatic consequences when, in the early twentieth century, professional male lawyers took an interest in legal aid. Male lawyers sought to professionalize legal aid. Part of this professionalization process involved the displacement of the women lay lawyers who for generations had been providing legal services to underprivileged communities. At stake in this conflict was not only the question of who could claim professional authority but also two different models of legal aid. One model—which became associated with the rising profession of social workers—sought to blur the line between legal and non-legal services, insisting on a holistic approach to clients’ problems, aiming at substantive rather than procedural justice, and focusing on the entire family unit, rather than focusing simply on the individual. The ultimately triumphant model pushed by certain male lawyers insisted instead on the distinctive nature of legal problems and knowledge and focused on delivering solutions to individual clients. Strikingly, as Batlan shows, the end result of this conflict was not a linear progression from social work to law—or from women to men—but a complex story in which conflict was followed by mutual accommodation for several decades in the 1930s and 1940s, before the more expansive, social-work-oriented view largely (though never entirely) succumbed.

Previous scholars have missed this rich and fascinating history because, as Batlan explains, the men who sought to control legal aid in the early twentieth century also rewrote its history, intentionally excluding the key role of women. Batlan’s book thus provides a vital corrective story. Through this rich social history of legal aid from the Civil War through the mid-twentieth century, Batlan challenges her readers to think more critically about what it means to practice law and how historians write about the history of lawyering. Women and Justice for the Poor is a remarkable feat of historical excavation and reinterpretation.

Honorable Mentions

Reuel Schiller, University of California, Hastings College of Law
Forging Rivals: Race, Class, Law, and the Collapse of Postwar Liberalism
Cambridge University Press 2015

Katherine Unterman,Texas A&M University
Uncle Sam's Policeman: The Pursuit of Fugitives across Borders
Harvard University Press 2015

Herbert Jacob
Book Prize

For the best book in law and society scholarship published in 2015.

berreyEllen Berrey
University of Denver

The Enigma of Diversity: The Language of Race and the Limits of Racial Justice
University of Chicago Press, 2015

Ellen Berrey’s book, The Enigma of Diversity:  The language of race and the limits of racial justice is an important book which shows how demands for “diversity” can lead, intentionally or not, to practices that in some cases maintain rather than challenge social and economic inequality.  She draws on six years of fieldwork and historical sources dating back to the 1950s in three very different cases studies, the University of Michigan’s affirmative action in admissions, Chicago’s Rogers Park housing redevelopment, and the workings of a Fortune 500 company human resource department.   After teasing out the parallels and contrasts in the three different sites, Berrey explores how the pursuit of diversity has had contradictory effects, as various groups use it for different, often symbolic ends, with African-American specificity often denied or swept under the rug. The committee found the book worthy of the prize because it is deeply researched, methodologically innovative and contains important policy lessons.

kawarLeila Kawar
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Contesting Immigration Policy in Court: Legal Activism and Its Radiating Effects in the United States and France
Law and Society Series of Cambridge University Press in June 2015

In her fascinating book, Contesting Immigration Policy, Leila Kawar draws on seven years of rigorous archival and ethnographic fieldwork to trace the ways in which “immigrant rights legal activism” has shaped elite policy-making in France and the United States since the 1970s. Through an elegant and persuasive argument, Kawar shifts our focus from conventional questions that ask how political struggles influence compliance with official legal decisions and instead asks how legal advocacy shapes wider political debates and policies surrounding immigration. Written in lucid prose, Kawar’s book synthesizes methodological approaches and debates from comparative scholarship, actor network theory and scholarship on the ‘cultural life of law‘ in innovative and productive ways that can integrate both political and legal-doctrinal dynamics equally well. Kawar’s book is a clear example of socio-legal research at its finest.

John Hope Franklin

For the best article on race, racism and the law, published within last two years.




Len Albright
 Northeastern University
Douglas S. Massey
 Princeton University
Jacob S. Rugh
Brigham Young University

Race, Space, and Cumulative Disadvantage: A Case Study of the Subprime Lending Collapse
May 2015 issue of Social Problems (Volume 62, Issue 2, Pages 186-218)

Nominated by Kasey Henricks

Race, Space, and Cumulative Disadvantage: A Case Study of the Subprime Lending Collapse written by Jacob S. Rugh, Len Albright, and Douglas S. Massey considers how the housing meltdown’s aftermath impacted black households in Baltimore, Maryland.  The authors show 1) approximately $2.1 billion of wealth was lost to foreclosure, 2) about $2 billion of this wealth loss came from high-income black households, and 3) over 90 percent of all black wealth lost derived from majority black neighborhoods. Using a novel dataset that fuses census information with individual-level lending records from Wells Fargo Bank, an institution that agreed to a $175 million settlement for allegations of subprime lending practices in 2012, the authors uncover how African Americans were disproportionately likely to receive higher cost and higher risk loans, which in turn lowered their disposable incomes and put them at greater risk of foreclosure and repossessions.  In many ways, the contribution of Rugh, Albright, and Massey speaks to the legacy of John Hope Franklin and his long career of publicly engaged, socially responsible research.

Honorable Mention

Tonya Brito, David Pate, Jr. & Jia-Hui Stefanie Wong,
"I Do for My Kids": Negotiating Race and Racial Inequality in Family Court
Fordham Law Review 2015

Law and Society
Article Prize

For exceptional scholarship in socio-legal studies published as an article.

rubenAshley T. Rubin
University of Toronto

A Neo-Institutional Account of Prison Diffusion
Law & Society Review 2015

Nominated by Malcolm Feeley, University of California, Berkeley

Interest in legal innovations, particularly in the criminal law realm, often centers on an innovation’s emergence, but not its subsequent diffusion. Typifying this trend, existing accounts of the prison’s historical roots persuasively explain the prison’s “birth” in Jacksonian-Era northern coastal cities, but not its subsequent rapid, widespread, and homogenous diffusion across a culturally, politically, and economically diverse terrain. Instead, this study offers a neo-institutional account of the prison’s diffusion, emphasizing the importance of national, field-level pressures rather than local, contextual factors. This study distinguishes between the prison’s innovation and early adoption, which can be explained by the need to replace earlier proto-prisons, and its subsequent adoption, particularly in the South and frontier states, which was driven by the desire to conform to increasingly widespread practices. This study further attributes the isomorphic nature of the diffusion to institutional pressures, including uncertainty surrounding the new technology, pseudoprofessional penal reformers and their claims about competing models of confinement, and contingent historical factors that reinforced these institutional pressures. This study illustrates the importance of distinguishing between the motivations that initiate criminal law innovations and those that advance their diffusion.

Honorable Mentions

Linda Hamilton Krieger, Rachel Kahn Best, & Lauren B. Edelman
When ‘Best Practices’ Win, Employees Lose: Symbolic Compliance and Judicial Inference in Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Cases,
Law & Social Inquiry 2015; nominated by Janice Nadler

Sida Liu
Law’s Social Forms: A Powerless Approach to the Sociology of Law
Law & Social Inquiry 2015; nominated by Andrew Baer and Terrence Halliday, Calvin Morrell and Carroll Seron

Law and Society
International Prize

For significant contributions to the advancement of knowledge in the field of law and society.

karstedtSusanne Karstedt
Griffith University

Susanne Karstedt is truly an international scholar, as demonstrated by the places of her academic appointments, her research topics, and her service in and for professional societies and institutions. 

At the core of Susanne Karstedt’s impressive body of work are the questions of how power, moralities, inequality, democracy, and justice interact in various contexts.  Her work characteristically combines approaches and questions to discover new and often surprising insights.  Her essay “Coming to Terms with the Past in Germany after 1945 and 1989: Public Judgments on Procedures and Justice” (1996 in German, 1998 in English, Law & Policy 20(1): 15-56) earned her much acclaim, and was the starting point for a number of publications and further research: the edition of Legal Institutions and Collective Memories (2009), various articles on transitional justice, i.e., “From Absence to Presence, from Silence to Voice: Victims in Transitional Justice since the Nuremberg Trials” (2010 International Review of Victimology 17(1): 9-30) and “Contextualizing Mass Atrocity Crimes: Moving Toward a Relational Approach” (2013 Annual Review of Law and Social Sciences 9: 383-404). 

Besides her prolific research and writing, Susanne Karstedt has served on a great number of editorial boards of national and international journals and book series and on advisory boards of research institutes and research foundations.  Her service extends to a variety of national and international professional societies, including the Law and Society Association, the ISA Research Committee on the Sociology of Law, and the American Society of Criminology.  Her international engagement is perhaps best demonstrated by her service on the Board of Directors of the International Society of Criminology, and as Scientific Director for this organization; in this capacity she organized the World Congress of Criminology in Philadelphia in 2005.   

Summing up, Susanne Karstedt has made significant contributions to the advancement of knowledge in the field of law and society by her remarkable research; her bridging of sociology, socio-legal studies, and criminology; her world-wide service in and to law and society academia; and, not least, bringing together in conferences, small and large, researchers from all over the world who understand their combined work as a transnational and international endeavor.  Hence we believe Susanne Karstedt is a highly deserving recipient of the LSA International Prize. 

Stanton Wheeler
Mentorship Award

As an outstanding mentor for graduate, professional or undergraduate students who are working on issues of law and society.

lynchMona Lynch
University of California, Irvine

Mona Lynch is an inspiring teacher, scholar and colleague, offering her abundant intelligence, research skill and good humor as a model of scholarly excellence.  She has encouraged, trained, and supported not only her students and colleagues, but many others with whom she has no official affiliation.  As one mentee wrote, “Mentoring is an undertaking usually specific to graduate student advisees and other officially recognized relationships. Yet sometimes—perhaps against the odds—academic mentoring relationships develop outside of these.” For Mona, such relationships are habitual.  She reaches out to individuals at all stages in their careers, crossing both disciplinary and institutional boundaries. As another beneficiary of her mentorship wrote, “Mona welcomes non-traditional students (in terms of educational background, age, previous career experience, and criminal backgrounds) into graduate school and works closely to support them as they navigate the challenges of a new cultural context or a second career.”

Within these relationships, she helps to develop scholars to pursue their own interests, while providing an example of a sharp analytic mind and impeccable scholarship.  As another student wrote, “[A] good mentor not only advises his or her students, but helps them become more confident, creative, and independent scholars on their own terms. Mona has been able to do this effectively for me and the many other students she advises . . .”  In doing so, she develops deeply personal relationships, with one mentee writing that, “I think of Mona as a friend, a mentor, and, in a sense, a member of my family.” 

Mona’s influence also extends beyond her own work, as she develops individuals’ ability to serve as mentors themselves, not only by providing an exemplary model, but by actively “encouraging advanced students to assist junior students [to navigate] graduate school and developing a research agenda.”  Her work advancing the Center in Law, Society and Culture and the West Coast Law & Society Retreats provide rich interactive opportunities for the development of Law and Society scholars.  Mona does this scholarly and organizational development work while remaining “committed to the betterment of society through action-oriented research.”

Ronald Pipkin
Service Award

For sustained and extraordinary service to the Association.


Shari Diamond
Northwestern University and American Bar Foundation

Shari Diamond’s dedication and high standards have characterized her history of service to the Law and Society Association in ways both large and small.  In the preceding six years alone, Shari has chaired the LSR Editor Search Committee, chaired the Publications Committee, served as an LSA Trustee, and been an active member of the Executive Officer Search Committee, the Publications Committee and the LSA-ABF Fellowship Committee.  Going back further, from 1990-92 she was editor of the Law & Society Review, chaired the 1996 Executive Officer Evaluation Committee, on several occasions served on the Nominations Committee, including chairing the committee in 1991-1992, was twice on the Kalven Prize Committee, served on the 2001 Summer Institute Committee and at least once was a summer institute instructor, served on the Minorities Research Fellowship Committee in 1987-1988, served on the Committee on Teaching in 1985 and on the Annual Meeting Program Committee.  Shari’s work in her disciplinary field, psychology, has influenced other psychologists to join the Association and become active within it.


For the dissertation that best represents outstanding work in law and society research in 2015.

cabreraSandra Botero Cabrera

Courts that Matter: Judges, Litigants and the Politics of Rights Enforcement in Latin America

The Law and Society Association’s Dissertation Prize for the year 2016 has been awarded to Sandra Botero Cabrera’s work Courts That Matter: Judges, Litigants and the Politics of Rights Enforcement in Latin America.

In Courts That Matter, Botero Cabrera asks a classic question from well-established law and society research: can court decisions have significant impact in advancing social change, or is that a hollow hope?  Rejecting positivist interpretations of judicial impact and pushing beyond mechanical compliance or political mobilization as indicators of either direct or indirect effects, the dissertation expands our understanding of rights enforcement by documenting how structural litigation can create “institutional spaces” for the operation of civil society.  Using a social science methodological framework, Botero Cabrera deeply studied eight cases from Argentina and Columbia which produced sweeping orders on such subjects as watershed cleanup, pension reform, and public health improvement.  Describing the litigant organizations, interviewing a range of court actors and activists, and observing a wide variety of oversight mechanisms that some of the courts established, she isolated two independent variables as significantly associated with the dependent variable of “sustained legal impact:” whether continuous oversight capacities and collaborative arenas were constructed, and whether dense legal constituencies emerged.  The work addressed a theory of causality, tracing the effects of each variable as litigation and compliance monitoring progressed within each case.  The committee was impressed with the policy implications of this dissertation and also welcomed its comparative aspects as a fresh look at the literature on judicial impact, which has been based primarily on research from the USA.  In his nominating letter, Professor Daniel Brinks summed it up: the dissertation shows that courts can promote meaningful social change when they act as “catalyst and facilitator…but only in the presence of well-organized groups advocating for that change, and only when they foster the new political spaces in which these groups can operate.”   

Dr. Botero Cabrera studied in the Graduate Program in Political Science at the University of Notre Dame.  Co-directors of her dissertation committee were Professors Daniel M. Brinks, of the University of Texas at Austin, and Professor Scott P. Mainwaring of Notre Dame. 

Honorable Mention

Jeffrey Kosbie, Northwestern University, Nominated by Laura Beth Nielson
Contested Identities: A History of LGBT Legal Mobilization and the Ethics of Impact

Student Paper Prize

For the undergraduate paper that best represents outstanding work in law and society research.


Allison Cano

A Matter of Personal Status: Women’s Legal Rights and the Making of Family Law in Post-2003 Iraq

Nominated by Tamir Moustafa, Simon Fraser University

This paper analyzed the historic evolution of family law in Iraq from the period of British occupation to the present.  This paper also analyzed family law in the post-Saddam era, and how negotiations during the constitutional process and after have involved the employment of identify politics in discussions over the structure and content of family law.  The paper sought to shed light on the ways family law in Iraq have become a point of contention between sectarian groups, and how issues of personal status have taken on a role in defining the boundaries of identity in a plural state with a history of politicized and institutionalized sectarianism and sectarian violence.

Graduate Student
Paper Prize

For the graduate paper that best represents outstanding work in law and society research.


Ayako Hirata

Regulation In-Between: How Does Inter-Office Interaction Matter for Street-Level Regulatory Enforcement?

Nominated by Calvin Morrill, University of California,Berkley

This paper developed a theoretical understanding of how inter-organizational processes relate to street-level regulatory enforcement.  The author’s study focused on the enforcement of soil environmental regulation in contemporary Japan. The empirical research consisted of in-depth interviews and a national survey mailed to every frontline office to detect how overall patterns of inter-office interactions affect enforcement.  The author found that street level officers use inter-office interaction as an interpretive strategy, and explored how different means of the statute evolve in different organizational networks and what drives regulatory offices to engage in such interactions.  The paper concluded by suggesting theoretical implications for understanding regulatory enforcement, and more broadly how meaning of law is constructed at the local level.