Law Professor, Dean Emerita Named American Bar Foundation Chair

Cynthia Nance
University Relations

Cynthia Nance

Cynthia Nance, dean emerita and the Nathan G. Gordon Professor of Law at the U of A School of Law, has been named chair of the American Bar Foundation Fellows. She, along with ABF board president and executive director, will also accept a $3.49 million grant presented by American Bar Endowment to support the foundation's mission. The grant will be presented during the 2021 American Bar Association Hybrid Annual Meeting in Chicago in August.

As chair, Nance is part of a four-person team leading the fellows — attorneys, judges, law faculty and legal scholars who have demonstrated dedication to the legal profession and to their communities' welfare. Fellows are recommended by their peers, elected by the Board of the American Bar Foundation and support the research of the American Bar Foundation through annual contributions and events related to professional development. Recently, law professor Jordan Blair Woods was elected as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

The foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization with a mission to expand knowledge and advance justice through innovative, interdisciplinary and rigorous empirical research on law, legal processes and legal institutions. Primary funding for the foundation is provided by the American Bar Endowment.

"We are delighted that Dean Nance is receiving this professional recognition," said Margaret Sova McCabe, dean of the law school. "Dean Nance's commitment to public service makes her an ideal candidate to lead the fellows and complements American Bar Foundation's mission to advance justice and the understanding of law in service to the legal profession and the public."

"It is an honor to serve as chair of the ABF Fellows and to help support and advance its innovative scholarship," Nance said. "ABF's research has a profound impact on not just the legal community and policymakers but also the general public — it promotes understanding of the law, protection and access to justice."

Nance joined the U of A School of Law faculty in 1994 as an assistant professor and served as the dean from 2006 to 2011. Her teaching and scholarship focus on labor and employment law, workplace legislation, poverty law and Lawyers as Leaders, and she was the law school's first director of pro bono and community engagement.

Nance's articles appear in journals including the Iowa Law Review, Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law, Rutgers Law Review and Brandeis Law Review. She has given presentations on various legal and educational issues nationally as well as in Mexico, Brunei, Singapore and Ukraine. She served as keynote speaker for the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas' inaugural Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration.

She is the former Eighth Circuit Member of the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary and represents the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section in the House of Delegates. Nance is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, and an elected member of its Board of Governors. She is also an elected member of the American Law Institute and The Labor Law Group, and serves on the Arkansas Advisory Committee to the United States Civil Rights Commission.

Nance is a member of the Arkansas Bar Association Commission on Diversity and the Arkansas Bar Foundation Trust Committee.

She has received various awards for her outstanding service, including the American Bar Association Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award, Arthur A. Fletcher Award of the American Association for Affirmative Action, the American Bar Association Spirit of Excellence Award, Arkansas Bar Association Outstanding Lawyer-Citizen Award and the U of A Faculty Distinguished Achievement Award in Public Service.

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas' flagship institution, the U of A provides an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to Arkansas' economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, discovery through research and creative activity while also providing training for professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the U of A among the top 3% of U.S. colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. See how the U of A works to build a better world at Arkansas Research News.





Yusra Sultana, director of communications
School of Law


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