Hatch Center launches new initiative on criminal justice reform, announces Christopher Bates as legal fellow

Today, the Hatch Center—the policy arm of the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation—announced that Christopher Bates has joined the organization as a Legal Fellow to spearhead its efforts on criminal justice reform and other matters. Previously, Bates served as a chief counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee and as a senior official at the US Department of Justice. Bates, whose areas of expertise include antitrust, intellectual property, and criminal law, will publish a series of pieces on various legal issues as well as a comprehensive report in the 2021 Hatch Center Policy Review on the way forward for criminal justice reform.

Christopher Bates thumbnailChris is undoubtedly one of the sharpest legal minds to come out of Utah in a generation,” said Hatch Foundation Chairman Emeritus Orrin Hatch. “His talent and potential were apparent starting in law school, where he served as the managing editor of the Harvard Law Review—a position held previously by Chief Justice John Roberts. As my chief counsel, Chris helped shepherd into law some of the most important intellectual property and criminal justice reforms of my Senate service. Given his wealth of expertise and his reputation in the legal community, Chris was an obvious choice to serve as the Hatch Center’s first Legal Fellow. I have no doubt that his work on criminal justice reform will break new ground and serve as a roadmap for policymakers everywhere.”

The Hatch Center is focused on building a strong stable of policy experts, and Chris Bates is a critical addition to the team,” said Scott Anderson, Chair of the Hatch Foundation Board. “After distinguishing himself in private practice, Chris entered public service to become one of the youngest—and by virtue of his intellect, most respected—chief counsels on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which handles all legislative proposals related to criminal law. He joins us after a two-year tenure at the Justice Department, where he gained hands-on experience litigating cases of national importance day in and day out. I can think of no one better suited to help us take on the difficult issues of prison, police, and sentencing reform.”

Criminal justice reform is one of the most pressing issues facing our country today, which is why we brought on a top-notch legal thinker in Chris Bates to help us tackle it,” said Hatch Foundation Executive Director Matt Sandgren. “Simple adjustments to the laws surrounding prison placement and rehabilitation can have a lasting impact in reducing crime rates and breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty. Strengthening our communities in this way is part and parcel of the Hatch Center’s mission to promote civility and solutions. As our Legal Fellow, Chris will outline a blueprint for reform that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle should be able to rally around. We are thrilled to have him as part of the team.”

Hatch Center Criminal Justice Initiative

The 2021 Hatch Center Policy Review will analyze the history of and continued need for criminal justice reform and the current fault lines that exist on the issue. It will offer recommendations for future criminal justice reform efforts that can win bipartisan support, including proposals to improve rehabilitation and reentry for incarcerated individuals, enhance police conduct and accountability, and reevaluate unfair or unduly harsh sentencing laws.

Christopher Bates Bio

Christopher Bates is a Legal Fellow at the Hatch Foundation, where he researches and writes on a variety of subjects, including antitrust, intellectual property, and criminal law. He also serves as a Visiting Scholar at Southern Virginia University, teaching courses on legal studies and constitutional law. Bates previously served in both the Civil and Antitrust Divisions of the US Department of Justice, where he litigated a number of nationally significant matters and argued cases in more than a dozen courts across the country.

Prior to his service at the Department of Justice, Bates was Chief Counsel to Senator Hatch on the Senate Judiciary Committee. In that role, Bates advised Senator Hatch on judicial nominations and led introduction and passage of several landmark pieces of legislation in the fields of intellectual property, data privacy, and criminal law. Earlier in his career, Bates was a litigation associate at a major international law firm in Washington, DC and clerked for Judge Thomas B. Griffith on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. Bates earned his JD magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was the managing editor of the Harvard Law Review, and a BA summa cum laude in Political Science from Brigham Young University.