Chancellor’s Professor of Law Michele Goodwin Honored with the ABA 2022 Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award


Prof. Rachel Croskery-Roberts

IRVINE, Calif. (April 18, 2022) — The University of California, Irvine School of Law (UCI Law) is proud to announce that Michele Goodwin, Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy, has been selected by The American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession as one of the 2022 Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award recipients. Professor Goodwin will be honored at this year’s ABA annual meeting on Aug. 7.

Named for the first woman lawyer in America, each year, the Margaret Brent Award is bestowed upon a select group of “outstanding women lawyers who have achieved professional excellence and paved the way for other women in the legal profession.” As with Margaret Brent, Professor Goodwin and fellow 2022 honorees are recognized as pioneers in the profession. Past honorees include Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O'Connor, the Honorable M. Margaret McKeown of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Elaine R. Jones, the former Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, Professors Lani Guinier and Anita Hill, and special awardees Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Barbara Jordan, and Janet Reno, among others.

“This is an honor and recognition beyond measure. Even while the Margaret Brent Award honors and recognizes its recipients for their leadership, mentoring and accomplishments in law, this honor represents the many investments made by others in my career and life--mentors who along the way imparted wisdom, rigor, kindness, and who encouraged my desire to think critically and in nuanced ways about the law and its impacts on peoples’ lives,” stated Chancellor’s Professor of Law Michele Goodwin.

“Through her scholarly contributions to constitutional law and health law, and through her leadership and service in the community, Professor Goodwin exemplifies the legacy of Margaret Brent,” said UCI Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Hal Stern. “We are pleased to see Professor Goodwin receive this well-deserved recognition.”

About Michele Goodwin

Michele Bratcher Goodwin is a Chancellor’s Professor at the University of California, Irvine and founding director of the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy. She is the recipient of the 2020-21 Distinguished Senior Faculty Award for Research, the highest honor bestowed by the University of California. She is also the first law professor at the University of California, Irvine to receive this award. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute as well as an elected Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the Hastings Center (the organization central to the founding of bioethics). She is an American Law Institute Adviser for the Restatement Third of Torts: Remedies.

Research and Scholarship Distinction:
Professor Goodwin’s constitutional law scholarship appears in or is forthcoming in the Harvard Law Review, California Law Review, Chicago Law Review, Cornell Law Review, Michigan Law Review, New York University Law Review, Northwestern Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and Yale Law Journal, among others. This dossier addresses legal questions related to freedom of speech; religious exercise; equal protection; due process; race and sex discrimination; reproductive rights; slavery; and LGBTQ equality. Her scholarship has been referenced by national media, legislators, and civil society organizations.

She is credited with helping to establish and shape the health law field. She directed the first ABA accredited health law program in the nation and established the first law center focused on race and bioethics. Her health law scholarship is hailed as “exceptional” in the New England Journal of Medicine. She ranks among the most cited professors in the field. Trained in sociology and anthropology, Professor Goodwin has conducted field research in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America, focusing on human trafficking (marriage, sex, organs, and other biologics). Her books include Policing The Womb: Invisible Women and the Criminalization of Motherhood(2020) ; Biotechnology, Bioethics, and The Law (2015); Baby Markets: Money and the Politics of Creating Families (2010); and Black Markets: The Supply and Demand of Body Parts (2006).

Public Commentary:

Professor Goodwin is a sought-after public commentator and has been featured in print, radio, and television news, including Politico,, Forbes, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, Chicago Sun-Times, Vox, Mother Jones; ABC News; NBC News; NPR, HBO’s Vice News, and Ms. Magazine among others. She is host of the On the Issues with Michele Goodwin podcast at Ms. Magazine. A prolific author, Goodwin’s publications include six books and over 100 articles, essays, book chapters, and commentaries.

National and International Leadership:

Professor Goodwin has long recognized the transformative power and value of education and access. Following earning her juris doctorate, she moved south and guided one of the largest southern school districts in the United States through desegregation, equity and inclusion efforts across 52 K-12 schools and more than 35,000 students with an operating budget exceeding $350 million. She later served as an assistant dean at the University of Wisconsin to help galvanize equity and inclusion efforts, followed by directing university programs and institutes.

Professor Goodwin has authored or co-authored amicus briefs submitted to the United States Supreme Court as well as the Second, Third, Sixth, and Ninth U.S. Courts of Appeals. She has provided testimony to state and federal lawmakers and legislative committees and worked with state attorneys general or their staff on health-related matters in California, Illinois, Minnesota, and New York.

Professor Goodwin serves on the executive committee and national board of the American Civil Liberties Union. She was a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Committee on Issues in Organ Donor Intervention Research and appointed an observer by the United States National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (for the revision of the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act). She chaired several sections of the Association of American Law Schools, served as a trustee of the United States Law and Society Association, and was the first woman to be elected Secretary General of the International Academy of Law & Mental Health.


Professor Goodwin has won national awards for excellence in scholarship, outstanding teaching, and committed community service. Gov. Paul Patton of Kentucky commissioned her a Colonel, the state’s highest title of honor for her outstanding contributions to K-12 education. In 2020 Orange Coast Magazine named her one of 35 Kickass Women. In 2019 she received the Be The Change Award. In 2018 she was bestowed the Sandra Day O’Connor Legacy Award by the Women’s Journey Foundation. That same year, Professor Goodwin was named Teacher of the Year by the Thurgood Marshall Bar Association and received a commendation from the United States House of Representatives for Outstanding Teaching.

Previously, Professor Goodwin was the Everett Fraser Professor at the University of Minnesota, with appointments in the Law School, Medical School, and School of Public Health. Professor Goodwin has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago and University of Virginia law schools. Prior to teaching law, she was a Gilder-Lehrman Post-Doctoral Fellow at Yale University.

About the University of California, Irvine School of Law

The University of California, Irvine School of Law is a visionary law school that provides an innovative and comprehensive curriculum, prioritizes public service, and demonstrates a commitment to diversity within the legal profession. UCI Law students have completed more than 130,000 hours of pro bono work since 2009. Forty-seven percent of UCI Law’s J.D. graduates are people of color. At UCI Law, we are driven to improve our local, national, and global communities by grappling with important issues as scholars, as practitioners, and as teachers who are preparing the next generation of leaders. The collaborative and interdisciplinary community at UCI Law includes extraordinary students, world-renowned faculty, dedicated staff, engaged alumni and enthusiastic supporters. More information on UCI Law is available here. Please follow us on Twitter @UCILaw and Facebook @UCIrvineLaw.

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