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Professor at Fort Worth’s Texas A&M law school receives ‘genius grant’ for reform work

October 6,2020

See full Fort Worth Star-Telegram article by Emerson Clarridge here.

A Dallas property law scholar was on Tuesday named a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellow for his work on the reform of laws that kept poor families from their real estate wealth.

Thomas Mitchell, a Texas A&M School of Law professor, was among 21 people who this year won the $625,000 genius grant.

Mitchell, 55, is co-director of the real estate and community development law program at the Fort Worth law school.

“When I started nearly 25 years ago, my ideas for law reform to help disadvantaged property owners were considered nearly impossible to achieve. I tell my students that they can make a real difference,” Mitchell wrote in a statement. “No matter how inevitable and seemingly permanent any injustice may appear to be, if you use your imagination and think boldly, develop a strategy, cultivate allies, and remain determined, change can come.”

MacArthur fellows are considered by an anonymous committee. There are three selection criteria elements: exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishments and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.

Mitchell’s research primarily addresses real property matters that impact poor communities, many of which are rural, the university said. He seeks to understand how the ability or inability of people or communities to build and retain assets can impact inequality.

Texas A&M University hired Mitchell in 2016 from the University of Wisconsin.

Location Mentioned: Texas A&M University School of Law