The annual Spirit of Excellence Awards celebrate the accomplishments of lawyers who promote a more racially and ethnically diverse legal profession.
“Justice Moreno is truly deserving of the Spirit of Excellence Award,” said commission Chair Reginald M. Turner. “His 24 years as a judge in state and federal courts have left a legacy that holds civil rights and equality in the highest regards.”
Moreno became a justice on the California Supreme Court in 2001. Since then, he authored 144 majority opinions and made important judicial contributions in many areas of the law.
During his tenure with the California Supreme Court, Moreno co-chaired the Santa Clara County Bar Association’s President’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Diversity in the Legal Profession in Silicon Valley. This commission completed a 60-page report on the lack of minority representation in Silicon Valley, the problems within and ways to fix these problems. Moreno and co-chair Bruce Sewell wrote a commentary to the San Jose Mercury News to raise awareness about these issues, and urged an addition of a “diversity” element to U.S. News and World Report’s law school rankings.
Moreno is a current member of the California State Bar Council on Access and Fairness, whose primary focus is diversity in the legal profession. He is the 2011 recipient of the council’s Diversity Award.
Throughout his judicial career, Moreno has spoken to several minority bar associations, including the Los Angeles Korean Bar, various African-American lawyer groups, the California State Bar and the American Bar Association, on the importance of representation of all racial and ethnic groups in the judiciary and the profession.
The award will be presented Feb. 4, 2012, during the ABA Midyear Meeting in New Orleans.
The Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession is a catalyst to change the legal profession to reflect the society it serves. It helps racially and ethnically diverse lawyers advance their careers and standing in the profession. Its leadership, programs and information help the profession understand and eliminate racism, bigotry and discrimination. The Commission works to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession, and thus enrich it.
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the world’s largest voluntary professional membership organization. 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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