ABA Announces Sponsorship of the Burton Awards to Honor Major Achievements in Law


April 7, 2015

By John Glynn

Washington, D.C.: American Bar Association President William C. Hubbard announced that the ABA will sponsor the Burton Awards, a national awards program created by William C. Burton and run in association with the Library of Congress and its Law Library.

The Burton Awards program rewards accomplishments in law, including the finest writing, teaching, journalism, public service in government, public interest work, general counsel efforts and achievements of lawyers in the military. Close to 70 awards are presented annually.

Hubbard said, “The ABA and the Burton Awards program share a desire to promote excellence in the legal profession. Both organizations have the ultimate goal of encouraging the highest level of accomplishment in law. This new relationship builds on the finest traditions of the American Bar Association.”

The Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress, chaired by Elizabeth Medaglia, will be the ABA liaison to the awards program. This year’s awards program will take place on June 15 at the Library of Congress. Justice Sonia Sotomayor will be the guest speaker. Robert Katzmann, chief judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, will also participate in the program. Emmy and Tony award winning actress and singer Kristen Chenoweth will provide entertainment.

William C. Burton, founder and chair of the awards program, said, “We are profoundly honored and grateful to President William Hubbard, Chairperson Elizabeth Medaglia and the members of the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association for their partnership. I could not think of a greater honor for our program. I look forward to working with this renowned institution to continue to recognize the greatest accomplishments in law.”

The honorary board of directors of the Burton Awards program includes: Judge Richard Posner, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit; Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit; Judith Kaye, former chief judge of the New York State Court of Appeals (retired); John Cornyn, U.S. senator; Robert P. Casey Jr., U.S. senator; Mike Crapo, U.S. senator; Thomas L. Sager, partner, Ballard, Spahr LLP; Les Parrette, senior vice president and general counsel, Novelis Inc.; and Stephen R. Mysliwiec, partner, DLA Piper.

The academic boards of the awards program include Noah Messing of Yale Law School; Virginia Wise of Harvard Law School; Philip Genty of Columbia Law School; Jeanne Merino of Stanford Law School; Judge Ed Forstenzer, former presiding judge, California Superior Court; William Ryan, advisor, Department of Homeland Security; and Roy Gutterman, director, Tully Center for Free Speech at Syracuse University.

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations 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. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at www.ambar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.

The Law Library of Congress was established in 1832 with the mission to make its resources available to members of Congress, the Supreme Court, other branches of the U.S. government and the global legal community and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of law for future generations. With more than 5 million items in various formats, the Law Library of Congress contains the world’s largest collection of law books and other resources from all countries and provides online databases and guides to legal information worldwide through its website at www.loc.gov/law/.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 158 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at www.loc.gov.

The Burton Awards program is a 501 (c) (3) effort funded by the Burton Foundation which is a not for profit, academic effort. It is devoted to recognizing and rewarding excellence in the legal profession. Since its inception in 1999 a principal focus of the organization has been the refinement and enrichment of legal writing, however, the scope of the program has grown into recognizing all major achievements in law. The founder of the program is William C. Burton, a partner in the law firm Sagat|Burton LLP and both a former New York State Assistant Attorney General, Assistant Special Prosecutor and author of the profession’s first legal thesaurus.