Melissa Murray receives ABA’s Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award

Melissa Murray, Frederick I. and Grace Stokes Professor of Law, has been awarded the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award by the American Bar Association (ABA).

Melissa Murray
Melissa Murray

The award, which was presented on August 6 during the ABA’s annual meeting, honors up to five women lawyers each year who have exhibited professional excellence while providing guidance and aid to future women lawyers. The awardees are selected by the ABA’s Commission on Women in the Profession.

Murray is a preeminent scholar in constitutional law, family law, and reproductive rights and justice. Her work, examining topics such as the symbiosis between abortion and precedent, the evolution of sexual regulation, and the interplay between racial justice and reproductive rights has appeared in the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, the Columbia Law Review, and the Michigan Law Review, among other publications. She is also the co-host of the award-winning constitutional law podcast Strict Scrutiny, and is a regular contributor to MSNBC.

At the Law School, Murray serves as the faculty director of the Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Center and teaches courses in constitutional law and family law, as well as a 1L reading group on motherhood and the law.

According to the ABA’s announcement, the award recognizes those who exhibit the qualities of Margaret Brent, the first woman lawyer in the American colonies, who, among other accomplishments, won all 124 cases she was involved with during her near decade as a practicing lawyer in the mid-17th century. In 1648, Brent formally advocated in the Maryland assembly for women’s right to vote and have a voice in their government. 

Other awardees this year were the Honorable Sabrina McKenna, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the State of Hawai’i; Yvette Ostolaza, chair of the management committee of Sidley Austin; Deborah Willig, founder and managing partner of Willig, Williams & Davidson; and Jill Wine-Banks, MSNBC contributor and author of The Watergate Girl: My Fight for Truth and Justice Against a Criminal President.

Posted August 7, 2023.