ABA Honors Outstanding Women Lawyers With 2012 Margaret Brent Achievement Awards
WASHINGTON, D.C., Aug. 1, 2012 — Five women whose accomplishments have paved the way for women in law and throughout the world will be honored with one of the legal profession’s most prestigious awards. The American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession will recognize Judge Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, Marcia Devins Greenberger, Joan M. Hall, Arlinda Locklear and Amy W. Schulman with the 2012 Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award.
The award ceremony luncheon will take place Sun., Aug. 5, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, during the ABA Annual Meeting.
“Each year we recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of five outstanding women lawyers who excelled in their field and paved the way to success for other women in the profession,” said Mary B. Cranston, chair of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession. “Our five honorees come from a wide range of backgrounds, but they share tremendous achievements as lawyers and in their devotion to helping other women, and served as pioneers for those in the legal profession and beyond.”
The Women Lawyers of Achievement Award, established in 1991, honors outstanding women lawyers who have achieved professional excellence in their area of specialty and helped other women achieve success. 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.
Meet the 2012 honorees:
Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, chief justice of the California Supreme Court, is the first Asian-Filipina American woman in the history of the nation to as a state chief justice. Before this appointment, Cantil-Sakauye served in numerous judicial offices on California’s appellate and trial courts. Throughout her career, she has been a source of advice for minority and women lawyers and judges. She is committed to the goal of diversifying California’s judicial system. One way she is doing this is by reaching out to underserved populations. Cantil-Sakauye has mentored and guided law students, including actively supporting an outreach program that assists socioeconomically disadvantaged undergraduate students with their law-school admissions process.
Marcia Devins Greenberger, co-president and founder of the National Women’s Law Center in Washington, D.C., is a nationally recognized women’s rights advocate and an expert on women and the law. She has spearheaded the development of women’s legal rights in the U.S. through litigation, legislative advocacy, appearances before the executive branch and its agencies, and public education. Greenberger also helped create two important programs outside the center dedicated to advancing opportunities for women lawyers. The Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellowship Program provides one-year fellowships for recent law graduates to work on women’s legal issues in various organizations in Washington. The Women’s Appointments Project actively recruits highly qualified women lawyers for positions in the federal government.
Joan M. Hall, retired partner at Jenner & Block LLP in Chicago, rose through the ranks to become the firm’s second woman partner, its first female litigation partner and the first woman appointed to Jenner’s executive committee. She also was the first woman to chair Jenner’s hiring committee. As a result, by 1974, roughly half of that year’s hires were women. She served as the first woman chair of the ABA Section of Litigation and used her yearlong term to establish the process of diversifying both the section’s leadership and its membership. Since the late 1990s, Hall has been a driving force behind the Young Women’s Leadership Charter School of Chicago, which has enabled hundreds of girls to obtain college degrees and become leaders themselves.
Arlinda Locklear, of Arlinda Locklear Law Office in Washington, D.C., was the first Native American woman to argue before the U.S. Supreme Court, where she successfully challenged South Dakota’s authority to prosecute a Native American for on-reservation conduct. Since that time, five other Native American women have argued before the Supreme Court. During her 35-year career in federal Indian law, she has represented tribes throughout the country in federal and state courts on treaty claims to water and land, taxation disputes with states and local authorities, reservation boundary issues, and federal recognition of tribes. She dedicated her career to giving back to Native American communities. Locklear has received numerous awards for fostering the development of women, among them a 2008 honor for her contributions to the American Indian community by the Conference for American Indian Women of Proud Nations.
Amy W. Schulman, of New York, executive vice president and general counsel of Pfizer and president and general manager of Pfizer Nutrition. In her role as general counsel, she created a new model for relationships between corporate counsel and law firms, influencing how clients are served, how young lawyers are trained, and how accountable lawyers are for the services they provide. Schulman, the executive sponsor of Pfizer’s Global Women’s Council, is passionate about the advancement of women and identifies creative ways to improve management and leadership opportunities for them. Before her work at Pfizer, she was DLA Piper’s biggest rainmaker. She leveraged her economic power and high-profile position on behalf of other women to change the way the firm leadership viewed its obligation to develop women and diverse talent. Schulman led the firm’s mass tort litigation practice, which she built from the ground up, and was the first woman to serve on the firm’s global board and its U.S. executive committee.
Previous winners of the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award range from small-firm practitioners in Alabama and Alaska to U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Winners are selected on the basis of their professional accomplishments and their role in opening doors for other women lawyers. Cranston, of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, says of this year’s Brent winners: “These highly distinguished women have been trailblazers throughout their careers. They are inspirational role models for women throughout the legal profession and indeed all women.”
For media credentialing, please contact Rabiah Burks at Rabiah.Burks@Americanbar.org. This event is free and open to members of the press.
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.
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