Friends, colleagues and leaders from the Section of Litigation honored Civiletti and his tremendous contributions to law and justice with a recounting of anecdotes and much admiration at the Metropolitan Club dinner. The Fellows Award is presented to a lawyer in recognition of distinguished service and leadership in the field of litigation through scholarship, teaching, advocacy, or as a member of the judiciary. Over the course of Civiletti’s career, he has been a champion of public service, professionalism and justice. The Section of Litigation also donated $150,000 to establish an endowment in Civiletti’s name.
Civiletti served as attorney general during the last year and a half of the Carter administration, from 1979 to 1981. He focused his law practice at Venable LLP on commercial litigation, banking, white-collar crime, government regulation and corporate governance. He handled numerous product liability cases, successfully prosecuted and defended statutory and constitutional claims, and conducted special investigations growing out of derivative suits, governmental proceedings and a state impeachment resolution.
Civiletti’s prior service on public for-profit boards and nonprofit boards has afforded him a thorough familiarity with corporate governance consensus, task forces and strategic planning. As attorney general, Civiletti argued before the International Court of Justice on behalf of the American captives in Iran and before the Supreme Court for the right of the government to denaturalize Nazi war criminals. He successfully defended the president’s wage and price guidelines in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (sitting en banc). Furthermore, Civiletti was responsible for the Justice Department’s promulgation of open-trial guidelines and the Stanford Daily laws as well as for the development and publication of National Priorities for the Investigation and Prosecution of White-Collar Crime, Principles of Federal Prosecution and National Prison Standards. He also instituted other improvements in the effective enforcement of criminal law and in civil rights and environmental protection.
The Section of Litigation, the ABA’s largest practice specialty section with more than 61,000 members, is dedicated to helping litigators become more effective advocates for their clients.