Abraham Elected to American Academy of Arts & Sciences

April 20, 2009

Law School professor Kenneth S. Abraham is one of five law professors nationwide elected this year as a fellow to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, one of the nation's most prestigious honorary societies and a center for independent policy research.

Kenneth S. Abraham

"Ken Abraham is the nation's leading scholar of insurance law and an influential torts scholar," said Law School Dean Paul G. Mahoney. "His work is theoretically ambitious while remaining firmly grounded in practical legal problems."

Abraham is among 210 new fellows elected this year, including Virginia Law alumnus J. Harvie Wilkinson III '72, a judge on the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He joins Law School faculty members Frederick Schauer and G. Edward White as fellows in the Academy.

"I'm honored to be in the company of the extraordinarily distinguished members of the Academy," Abraham said.

Abraham practiced in New Jersey before he began teaching law at the University of Maryland in 1974. He came to the University of Virginia School of Law in 1983, and became a David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor of Law in 2006.

Abraham's casebook, "Insurance Law and Regulation," now in its fourth edition, has been used as the principal text in courses on insurance law in more than 100 American law schools. His torts treatise, "The Forms and Functions of Tort Law," has become a basic text for first-year law students across the country.

For more than two decades Abraham has served as a consulting counsel and as an expert witness in a variety of major insurance coverage cases involving directors and officers liability, environmental cleanup liability, toxic tort, products liability and property insurance claims. He has also served as an arbitrator for the Dalkon Shield Claimants Trust, resolving over 100 claims by women seeking damages for injuries caused by the Dalkon Shield intrauterine device, both in the United States and Europe.

The new class of fellows will be inducted at a ceremony on Oct. 10 at the Academy's headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.

"Since 1780, the Academy has served the public good by convening leading thinkers and doers from diverse perspectives to provide practical policy solutions to the pressing issues of the day," said Academy chief executive officer Leslie Berlowitz. "I look forward to welcoming into the Academy these new members to help continue that tradition."

Since its founding by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock and other scholar-patriots, the Academy has elected as members the finest minds and most influential leaders from each generation, from George Washington to Albert Einstein. The current membership includes more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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