Richard Abel teaches Torts, Legal Profession, and Law and Social Change. Over the years, he has been president of the Law and Society Association, editor of African Law Studies and of the Law & Society Review, and member of the editorial boards of other journals in the law and society field in the United States, Europe, and Australia. He participated in the founding of the Conference on Critical Legal Studies in 1977 and helped organize the meeting on "Law and Racism: The Sounds of Silence." At UCLA, he has been faculty coordinator for the Public Interest Law Program.
Professor Abel spent two years after law school reading African law and legal anthropology in London, and then a year of field work in Kenya studying the ways in which primary courts staffed by and serving the African population had preserved indigenous notions of law and procedure within European institutions. He began teaching at Yale in 1969 and spent the 1971-72 year practicing with the New Haven Legal Assistance Association.
Professor Abel's books include Lawyers in the Dock: Learning from Attorney Disciplinary Proceedings (2008); English Lawyers between Market and State: The Politics of Professionalism (2003); Speaking Respect, Respecting Speech (1998); Lawyers: A Critical Reader (1997); Politics by Other Means: Law in the Struggle Against Apartheid, 1980-1994 (1995); The Law & Society Reader (1995); Speech and Respect (1994); American Lawyers (1989); The Legal Profession in England and Wales (1988); The Politics of Informal Justice (editor, 1982); and Lawyers in Society (co-editor, 1988-89).