Finest General Counsels Announced by Burton Awards Program


May 1, 2015

New York, New York: The Burton Awards Program, held in association with the Library of Congress and Co-Sponsored by the American Bar Association, announced the 2015 award-winning general counsels. The winners, known as “Legends in Law,” were selected based upon the following criteria: reputation in the legal profession; demonstrated competence in a specialized area of law; extensive background and experience; complexity and scope of matters handled; success in global or national issues; and exemplary leadership in law. The awarded general counsels were chosen from nominations received from managing partners of the nation’s 1,000 largest law firms. This year marks the sixteenth anniversary of the non-profit program, which will be held on June 15, 2015 at the Library of Congress.

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.

Thomas L. Sager, Partner, Ballard Spahr LLP, and Les Parrette, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Compliance Officer at Novelis Inc., co-chairs of the Legends in Law Committee, stated: “We are fortunate to honor such outstanding leaders in the law. These prominent general counsel are truly worthy of this special recognition.”

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will be a featured speaker at the event. Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Robert Katzmann will also be on the program. Alabama Attorney General Luther Johnson Strange will speak at a special luncheon for the Legend in Law award winners. At the Gala in the evening, Emmy and Tony award winning actress and singer Kristen Chenoweth will perform.

The following general counsels will be honored for their exceptional careers in law:

Thomas J. Sabatino, Jr. Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel Hertz Corporation Nominated by the Legends in Law Committee

Ira P. Berman
Senior Vice President, Administrative Officer and General Counsel
Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation
Nominated by HunterMaclean

Lisa Rickard 
U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform
Executive Vice President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Nominated by Cozen O’Connor, P.C.

John F. Schultz
Executive Vice President and General Counsel
Hewlett-Packard Company
Nominated by Sidley Austin LLP

John B. Wright
General Counsel
Triumph Group
Nominated by Ballard Spahr LLP

Chaim A. Levin
Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel
Tradition Group
Nominated by Winston & Strawn LLP

Andrea Daly
Managing Director and General Counsel
Nominated by Kaye Scholer LLP

Kevin A. Fox
Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
Sharp Electronics Corporation
Nominated by Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Rosland Fisher McLeod
Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer
SCL Health
Nominated by Husch Blackwell LLP

In the past, recipients have included many other leading general counsel in law, including: James Cicconi, AT&T, Inc; Brackett B. Denniston III, General Electric Company; Charles W. Matthews, Exxon Mobil Corporation; Amy Fliegelman Olli, CA Inc.; Charles A. James, Chevron Corporation; Janet Langford Kelly, ConocoPhillips Company; Les Parrette, Novelis, Inc.; Marschall I. Smith, 3M Company; James M. Strother, Wells Fargo & Company; Susan L. Blount, Prudential Financial, Inc.; and Maria Pasquale, Celgene Corporation, among many others.


The Burton Awards, established in 1999, is funded by the Burton Foundation, a non-profit, academic effort devoted to recognizing and rewarding excellence in the legal profession. The Burton Awards was established to honor the finest accomplishments in law, including writing, reform, public service and interest, regulatory innovation, and lifetime achievements in the profession.


This prominent institution is one of the most celebrated and distinguished libraries in the world. It was established on April 24, 1800, and since that time has grown to become one of the largest repositories in history. The Library of Congress functions as both a national library and as the research arm of the U.S. Congress. It contains more than 32 million catalogued books and more than 62 million manuscripts.


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.

WILLIAM C. BURTON, ESQ., Founder and Chair

The Founder and Chair of The Burton Awards for Legal Achievement is William C. Burton, Esq., a partner in the law firm of Sagat|Burton LLP. He is a former New York State Assistant Attorney General, a former New York State Assistant Special Prosecutor, and is the author of the first legal thesaurus ever written for the legal profession, entitled BURTON’S LEGAL THESAURUS. The book is now in its 5th edition and quickly approaching its 35th anniversary. When the book was released, the Association of American Publishers recognized it as “one of the Most Innovative and Creative Projects of the year.” In 2011, Mr. Burton was presented the highest honor given by the second largest association of law professors in America, The Legal Writing Institute. He was recognized for “significantly advancing the cause of legal writing in the profession of law.” More recently, he was awarded the “Blackstone Award” by the Friends of the Law Library of Congress, for “embodying and promoting the best ideals of the institution.”