WASHINGTON– The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee) honored the outstanding pro bono service and stellar commitment to advancing equity and racial justice of lawyers, law firms, and Board members during its 2023 Annual Awards Reception, hosted by Hogan Lovells LLP in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, December 7.
“The Lawyers’ Committee is proud to be the strategic home-base for racial justice pro bono leadership and service,” said Damon Hewitt, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “In its sixty-year history, the Lawyers’ Committee has accelerated and amplified pro bono opportunities and impact, leveraging nearly one million pro bono hours from throughout the private bar on various cases and matters in the past decade alone. We are grateful for the outstanding contributions that these honorees have made in advancing our mission.”
The Lawyers’ Committee honored five individuals and one law firm whose actions have helped advance racial justice in our country.
Honorees include: Stephen Pollak, former Lawyers’ Committee Board member and retired partner at Goodwin Proctor, LLP; Paulette Brown, retired partner at Locke Lord LLP and former president of the National Bar Association and the first Black woman to serve as president of the American Bar Association, Adam Klein, managing partner of Outten & Golden LLP; James Joseph, partner at Arnold & Porter LLP; Jon Greenbaum, Lawyers’ Committee Chief Counsel; and the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.
LLOYD CUTLER LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
This award honors an individual whose distinguished career of exceptional achievement and service has advanced equal justice under law. The Lawyers’ Committee bestowed this honor upon Stephen Pollak, former Lawyers’ Committee Board member and retired partner at Goodwin Proctor, LLP. In his storied career, Pollak served in key leadership positions in the U.S. Department of Justice and the White House from 1961 through 1969, with stints in the Civil Rights Division and the Office of the Solicitor General. He was a member of the Lawyers’ Committee Board of Directors for over 50 years, serving on the organization’s Supreme Court amicus committee until recently. He also served as Co-Chair of the Board from 1975-1977. Joining to present the award were Judge David S. Tatel, formerly of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C Circuit and Lawyers’ Committee Honorary Lifetime Trustee and a former Executive Director; and Lawyers’ Committee Board member Brian Landsberg, Professor Emeritus at the McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific.
SEGAL-TWEED FOUNDERS AWARD
Named in honor of Lawyers’ Committee founding Co-Chairs Bernard G. Segal and Harrison Tweed, two of this century’s most esteemed attorneys, this award is presented to a Lawyers’ Committee Board member who has displayed outstanding leadership and service in the cause of equal justice under the law. This year’s award was conferred upon Paulette Brown, retired partner at Locke Lord LLP. Throughout her decades of leadership in the bar, including serving as president of the National Bar Association and as the first Black woman president of the American Bar Association, she has been a trailblazer for justice and equity. Ms. Brown was introduced by Lawyers’ Committee Board Co-Chair Danielle R. Holley, who is herself the first Black woman president of Mt. Holyoke College.
WHITNEY NORTH SEYMOUR AWARD
This award recognizes a former Lawyers’ Committee Board Co-Chair whose body of work exemplifies the legacy of service and integrity which characterized the life of Whitney North Seymour—a prominent New York trial lawyer, 84th president of the American Bar Association, long-serving managing partner of the law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, and assistant solicitor general in the U.S. Department of Justice. This year’s honorees were Adam Klein, Managing Partner of Outten & Golden LLP and James Joseph, Partner at Arnold & Porter LLP. Klein and Joseph served as Co-Chairs of the Lawyers’ Committee during critical stages of growth for the organization, including selecting the past two executive directors and a doubling of the organization’s staff and budget. The honorees were introduced by Jane Sherburne, former White House Special Counsel and former General Counsel to major financial institutions, a former Lawyers’ Committee Board Co-Chair.
EDWIN D. WOLF AWARD
This award honors a past or present Lawyers’ Committee staff member or one of the independent Local Committees who has exhibited outstanding service and commitment to civil rights. This year the organization recognized Jon Greenbaum, who serves as its Chief Counsel. Greenbaum joined the Lawyers’ Committee in 2003 as director of the Voting Rights Project, where he successfully litigated numerous cases in the federal courts. As Chief Counsel, he is the primary steward of the organization’s renowned litigation footprint. Throughout his time at the Lawyers’ Committee, he has been an integral part of some of its most important legal victories. Prior to joining the Lawyers’ Committee, he served as senior trial attorney in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice and before then was a litigation associate in the Los Angeles office of Dewey Ballantine LLP. Introducing Greenbaum was Lawyers’ Committee Board Executive Committee member Michael Jones, a partner at Kirkland & Ellis and a former Lawyers’ Committee Board Co-Chair.
ROBERT F. MULLEN PRO BONO LAW FIRM AWARD
This award honors a law firm that has provided extraordinary pro bono legal services on behalf of a Lawyers’ Committee client or matter. The award was conferred upon the firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, which has provided sterling pro-bono advisory and litigation partnership to the Lawyers’ Committee on matters ranging from voting rights to police accountability and has also served as an anchor firm in the organization’s “Protecting and Advancing DEI Pro Bono Initiative”, through which it advises smaller non-profit organizations seeking to leverage race-conscious methods to advance their mission while navigating the implications of the SFFA v. Harvard/UNC affirmative action decision. The award was introduced by Demelza Baer, Director of Public Policy, and Ed Caspar, Deputy Chief Counsel. The award was accepted by Roscoe Jones, a partner at Gibson Dunn and Lawyers’ Committee Board Secretary.
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law— The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of voting rights, criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and hate crimes. For more information, please visit https://lawyerscommittee.org.