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News Posted on December 18, 2018

Professor Pruitt elected to the American Law Institute

Professor Lisa R. Pruitt has been elected to the American Law Institute (ALI).

A Martin Luther King Jr. professor of law at UC Davis, Pruitt holds a J.D. from the University of Arkansas School of Law and a Ph.D. in Laws from the University of London.

Before joining the King Hall faculty in 1999, Pruitt worked abroad for almost a decade in settings ranging from international organizations to private practice. She worked with lawyers in more than 30 countries, negotiating cultural conflicts in several arenas.

Once Pruitt was granted tenure in 2004, she took the risky step of seeking to establish a new sub-discipline—one that explored rural-urban difference in relation to how people engage law and the state. Her central premise was that law and legal scholarship has become metro-centric and that most lawyers and law professors, along with many judges, knew little about rural people and places and how they differed from what had become the implicit urban norm. Pruitt reveals, for example, how the economic, spatial, and social features of rural locales profoundly shape the lives of residents, including the junctures at which they encounter the law. This work also considers how rurality inflects dimensions of gender, race, and ethnicity. Indeed, the most recent thread of Pruitt’s scholarship explores critical whiteness studies as a thread of critical race theory. Among other projects, Pruitt challenges the conflation of rurality with whiteness, while also seeking a more nuanced understanding of rural and working-class whites, especially in the era of Trump. This work has taken Pruitt back into an exploration of the global orientation from which she came to King Hall.

The American Law Institute - widely considered the nation's most important non-governmental organization of legal reform - oversees law-reform projects that often form the basis of laws enacted across the country and become standards cited in judges' legal opinions, lawyers' briefs, and scholarly articles. ALI membership is a distinct professional honor, and the number that can be admitted is limited to 3,000.

With Pruitt’s appointment, King Hall counts 17 faculty and emeriti who are members of the prestigious institution. The UC Davis law faculty includes ALI members Dean Kevin R. Johnson and Professors Ashutosh Bhagwat, Gabriel “Jack” Chin, William S. Dodge, Floyd F. Feeney, Robert W. Hillman, Thomas W. Joo, and Leticia Saucedo, as well as Professors Emeriti Alan Brownstein, Carol S. Bruch, Joel C. Dobris, Daniel W. Fessler, Angela P. Harris, John B. Oakley, Edward H. Rabin and Daniel L. Simmons.