Abraham Sutherland

  • Lecturer

Abraham Sutherland was the U.S. Department of State’s rule of law adviser in northeast Afghanistan’s Kunar Province, near the Pakistan border, from 2009 to 2012. He served with five successive Navy-led Provincial Reconstruction Teams and three Army brigade combat teams, planning and participating in more than 450 missions from a forward artillery base in one of the conflict’s most challenging regions.

He received the Army’s Superior Civilian Service Award, the State Department’s Superior Honor Award, and recognition from the Afghan Supreme Court and Attorney General for his contributions to Kunar’s justice system. Sutherland’s approach to rule of law efforts emphasizes publicity, transparency and incentive structures. More than 100 public, media-covered criminal trials were held in Kunar Province during his tenure, the first of their kind in Afghanistan. He remains an adviser to the Afghan-run NGO he helped found. The NGO promotes public awareness and oversight of Kunar’s justice institutions and provides defense attorneys to criminal defendants.

Sutherland's research interests include the regulation and taxation of cryptocurrency. He is also the director of the project development company Saker Group. The company seeks solutions to development challenges in least-developed countries and frontier markets by applying strategies and principles drawn from law and economics. Saker Group is currently focused on energy infrastructure and other development projects in Union of Comoros, East Africa.

In law school Sutherland was a member of the California Law Review and was named to the Order of the Coif. He began his career at O’Melveny & Myers in Washington, D.C., and clerked for Judge David B. Sentelle on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He served in the White House as a deputy associate counsel during the George W. Bush administration.


  • J.D.
    University of California at Berkeley School of Law
  • B.A.
    Harvard University
  • Deep Springs College


"Cryptocurrency Economics and the Taxation of Block Rewards," 165 Tax Notes 749  ( Part 1, Nov. 4, 2019) and Tax Notes __ (Part 2, Nov. 11, 2019).


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