Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession

2016 Spirit of Excellence Awards

Celebrate the efforts and accomplishments of lawyers who work to promote a more racially and ethnically diverse legal profession. The Awards are presented to lawyers who excel in their profession settings; who personify excellence; and who have demonstrated a commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession.

Saturday, February 6, 2016
Noon – 2:00 p.m.
(Doors open at 11:30 a.m.)

ABA Midyear Meeting
San Diego, CA
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
1 Market Place

Register for the Midyear Meeting, Reserve Housing and Purchase Tickets to Spirit of Excellence.


If you’re already registered for Midyear Meeting, Purchase Tickets to Spirit of Excellence Luncheon.


Click here to find out more on how you can purchase your level of support, tribute ad and/or table. Deadline is January 5, 2016. 

With questions or for further information, please contact Keevin Woods, Staff Director at ___________________________________________________

50 Years Later: Voting Rights in America

Watch the panelists square off on C-Span

Issues surrounding Shelby County v. Holder spur spirited debate on whether protection for voters of color is still necessary, as 34 states enact voter-ID laws following the 2013 decision. 

In case you missed it, watch the C-Span broadcast of the Commission's Voting Rights Act Program. 

  • Mission



Will A. Gunn, Chair
Ft. Belvoir, VA

Aurora Austriaco
Austriaco and Associated Ltd.
Chicago, IL

Linda J Benally
Pinnacle West Capital Corporation
Phoenix, AZ

Brigida Benitez
Steptoe & Johnson LLP
Washington, DC

Laura DeSio
Montgomery, AL

Cal Gonzales
Walnut Creek, CA

Akira Heshiki
Standard Insurance Company
Portland, OR

Helen B. Kim
Thompson Coburn LLP
Los Angeles, CA

Pamela Meanes
Thompson Coburn LLP
St. Louis, MO

Hon. William D. Missouri
Circuit Court 7th Judicial
Upper Marlboro, MD

Phong D. Nguyen
BakerHostetler LLP
Washington, DC

Florence Johnson Raines
Johnson & Johnson PLLC
Memphis, TN

Thomasina Real Bird
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Louisville, CO

Hon. Karen Wells Roby
US District Court Eastern District of Louisiana
New Orleans, LA

Evett L. Simmons
Greenspoon Marder
Port Saint Lucie, FL

Daiquiri Steele
Atlanta, GA

Palmer G. Vance II
Stoll Keenon Odgen PLLC
Lexington, KY


Jo Ann Engelhardt
Bessemer Trust
Palm Beach, FL