UB's Granfield Named Fulbright Research Chair in International Humanitarian Law

Sociologist will go to University of Ottawa's Human Rights Research and Education Center

Release Date: May 13, 2010

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Sociologist Robert Granfield has been named the Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in International Humanitarian Law at the University of Ottawa.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Robert Granfield, PhD, of Youngstown, N.Y., professor and chair of the Department of Sociology, University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences, has been named the Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in International Humanitarian Law at the Human Rights Research and Education Center (HRREC), University of Ottawa, Ontario.

HRREC is a premier center of intellectual activity in the area of human rights and is the oldest national university-based human rights institute in Canada.

Granfield's $25,000 Fulbright grant will fund his research during the fall 2010 semester into the evolving role of pro bono legal work in Canada as well as in a global context.

Canada's civil legal aid system is supported through state funding, but recently there has been an increase in voluntary pro bono legal services by private attorneys. Granfield will study the impact this development has had on the Canadian legal profession and on access to justice for its citizens. In addition, he will explore the international implications of the emerging global pro bono movement.

This research represents a continuation of his previous scholarly work and publications.

In 2009, Granfield and co-editor Lynn Mather, PhD, UB political scientist and law professor, published "Private Lawyers and the Public Interest: The Evolving Role of Pro Bono in the Legal Profession" (Oxford University Press). The book examines the history, conditions, organization and strategies of pro bono lawyering, interrogates the public interest ideals of the legal profession and places these ideals in a broader social, economic and ideological context.

In his review of the book, Robert Nelson, professor of sociology and director and MacCrate Research Chair at the American Bar Foundation, called it "essential reading for scholars, policymakers and leaders of the profession who hope to expand access to legal services in a system characterized by massive inequality in representational resources."

Based on original empirical articles developed for a 2008 conference at UB's Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy organized by Granfield and Mather, the book contains cutting-edge contributions on the evolving role of pro bono in the legal profession.

Granfield is the author of five other books and more than 70 articles, book chapters and reviews. He has been the recipient of numerous research grants and awards for his scholarship and his research is frequently cited in scholarly publications.

In addition to his research interest in the study of law, legal institutions and the legal profession, he has conducted extensive research in the sociology of alcohol and drug use with an emphasis on natural recovery from addiction as well as alcohol use among college students.

In addition to being department chair, Granfield, who has been at the University at Buffalo since 2004, is the chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee for the UB 2020 strategic strength in Civic Engagement and Public Policy.

The Canada-U.S. Fulbright Program was created 20 years ago to enhance understanding between the people of Canada and the United States by providing support to outstanding graduate students, faculty, professionals and independent researchers. It is supported by both governments and a large number of public and private sector partners.

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