Six Women Trailblazers Honored at ABA Annual Meeting
By Rabiah Alicia Burks
American Bar Association News Service
TORONTO – Six distinguished women whose collective law careers have broken through many barriers were given the American Bar Association 2011 Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award, one of the legal profession’s most prestigious awards.
“The Margaret Brent Awards recognize the remarkable achievements and accomplishments of distinguished women lawyers from around the country,” said Roberta D. Liebenberg, chair of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession. “Our honorees have not only achieved great professional success, they have also blazed the trail for other women lawyers and served as inspirational role models.”
The Commission honored Eleanor Dean (“Eldie”) Acheson, Paulette Brown, Karen J. Mathis, Col. Maritza Ryan, and Hon. Esther Tomljanovich with the 2011 Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award. A sixth honoree, Right Hon. Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin of the Supreme Court of Canada, received a special award. The award ceremony and luncheon took place at the Metro Toronto Convention Center in Toronto, Canada, during the ABA Annual Meeting.
The ABA also recognized 20 outstanding women third-year law students selected by the “Ms. JD” organization for the commission’s unique fellowship program.
“These ‘Brentees,’” Liebenberg explained, “will be paired with former and current Brent Award recipients and commission members for a one-year mentoring experience that will provide an invaluable springboard to launch their legal careers.”
The Women Lawyers of Achievement Award, established in 1991, honors outstanding women lawyers who have achieved professional excellence in their area of specialty and have actively paved the way to success for others. The award is named for Margaret Brent, the first woman lawyer in America. Brent arrived in the colonies in 1638 and was involved in 124 court cases in more than eight years, winning every case. In 1648, she formally demanded a vote and voice in the Maryland Assembly, which the governor denied.