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Arizona Law Professor to Receive 2013 ABA Spirit of Excellence Award

Arizona Law Professor to Receive 2013 ABA Spirit of Excellence Award

By Gabriel McIntosh

CHICAGO, Nov. 20, 2012 — Myles V. Lynk, the Peter Kiewit Foundation Professor of Law and the Legal Profession at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law in Tempe, Ariz., will receive the 2013 Spirit of Excellence Award from the American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession.

The award, which celebrates the accomplishments of lawyers who promote a more racially and ethnically diverse legal profession, will be presented Feb. 9 at the Hilton Anatole during the ABA Midyear Meeting in Dallas.

Lynk is the only African-American faculty member at the law school and only the second in the history of the law school to receive tenure.  In a letter nominating him for the award, the retired Arizona Court of Appeals judge who helped recruit Lynk to ASU from his private practice in Washington, D.C., said he has observed Lynk’s “transformative effect on the lives of the minority law students” at the school.  Cecil B. Patterson’s letter told how Lynk’s annual “diversity dinner” for the diverse communities at the school “helps energize the students and reminds them of the world of possibilities that await them in the practice of law.”

Before attending Harvard Law School, Lynk served as a volunteer with Volunteers in Service to America and lived in a public housing project in St. Louis to assist its residents with employment, housing and nutritional needs.  He was a founding member of the District of Columbia’s Conference on Opportunities for Minorities in the Legal Profession, which works with law firms to foster greater minority recruitment, hiring, retention and promotion practices.

Lynk is on the U.S. Indian Health Service’s Phoenix Area Institutional Review Board, which monitors human subjects’ biomedical and social science research in American Indian communities in Arizona.

“Myles Lynk was a natural choice for the Spirit of Excellence Award. Even before he was a lawyer, he showed a commitment to social justice, an ethic that he carries with him to this day,” said Reginald Turner, the chair of the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession.  “Throughout his legal career, he has served as a role model and mentor to young racially and ethnically diverse lawyers.  He has been a consistent and forceful advocate for diversity and inclusion, at the ABA and beyond.”

“His transition from a corporate law practice into the halls of academia as a law professor placed him in a position to continue mentoring and preparing young lawyers to advance the cause of justice, making certain that diversity and inclusion will be carried to even greater heights,” Turner added.

The mission of the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession is to promote racial and ethnic diversity and inclusion within the legal profession. It serves as a catalyst for change, so that the profession may more accurately reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of society, and better serve society. The Commission takes actions to promote the recruitment, hiring, promotion and advancement of attorneys of color, and works to ensure equal membership and employment opportunities for diverse lawyers in the American Bar Association. The Commission accomplishes these goals through many initiatives, activities and programs, including the Spirit of Excellence Award.

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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