UCLA School of Law Professor Laura E. Gómez has been honored with the 2021 Outstanding Scholar Award from the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation. She will receive the award – among the nation’s highest honors for scholarship in law or government – at the ABF’s annual banquet, which will be held virtually on Feb. 16.
Gómez holds the Rachel F. Moran Endowed Chair in Law and is a co-founder and the current faculty director of UCLA Law’s Critical Race Studies program, which is presently celebrating its 20th anniversary as the first official, law school-based institutional program dedicated to advancing equality through the rigorous study of the intersection of race and the law.
A renowned leader in pathbreaking scholarship that promotes social justice, Gómez holds joint appointments in UCLA’s departments of sociology and Chicana/o and Central American studies. Her 2020 book, Inventing Latinos: A New Story of American Racism (The New Press), has drawn wide acclaim and was featured on NPR’s list of the best books of the year. Her 2007 book Manifest Destinies: The Making of the Mexican American Race (NYU Press) was a landmark in the field.
In announcing the award and recognizing Gómez’s expertise on race, law and society, retired Judge Eileen A. Kato, National Chair of the ABF Fellows and Patron Fellow, said, “Laura’s work exemplifies the ABF’s mission to expand knowledge and advance justice through rigorous empirical and interdisciplinary research. … We are honored to recognize her important scholarship with the Outstanding Scholar Award.”
The Outstanding Scholar Award has been presented since 1957 by the ABF, which is one of the world’s most eminent independent organizations for empirical and interdisciplinary study of the law. Previous honorees include UCLA Law Professors Richard Abel and Kimberlé Crenshaw and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.