Stephen Lee wins Derrick Bell Award

Dec. 11, 2013

Prof. Stephen Lee is a winner of this year’s Derrick Bell Award from the Association of American Law Schools.

The AALS Minority Groups Section annually awards the Derrick Bell Award to a junior faculty member who, through activism, mentoring, colleagueship, teaching and scholarship, has made an extraordinary contribution to legal education, the legal system or social justice. The award is named in honor of the late Professor Derrick A. Bell, Jr., the first tenured African-American on the Harvard Law School faculty.

Prof. Lee and Prof. Osamudia James of the University of Miami School of Law are this year’s Derrick Bell Award winners. They will share the 2014 award.

“We are thrilled that Stephen’s work received this much-deserved recognition,” said Dean Erwin Chemerinsky. “He is a super-star as a scholar, teacher, and colleague.”

The winners were announced last month by the Executive Committee of the AALS Section on Minority Groups. The Section will present the awards to the winners at the Section's Luncheon, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, during the AALS Annual Meeting in New York City. A public announcement will also be made at the Section's Program.

Past winners of the Derrick Bell Award include Prof. Mario Barnes, who won in 2008 while at the University of Miami School of Law.

Prof. Lee writes at the intersection of administrative law and immigration law. He is particularly interested in how enforcement realities constrain immigration law and policy across a variety of contexts and institutions.

His recent projects have examined the use and justification of discretionary decision making in immigration enforcement policy, the structural implications of prosecutorial gatekeeping in state courts, and the pathologies associated with regulating employers for immigration and labor law violations.

Prof. Lee has also organized two symposiums at UCI Law focused on immigration law. In February 2011, he gathered scholars from across the country to examine the complex and contradictory realities of immigrants' rights and anti-immigrant local laws. In June 2013, he helped convene a conference for emerging immigration faculty to share drafts of their research projects, discuss teaching techniques and further develop a sense of community.