“For Hillary Clinton’s immense accomplishments as a lawyer, the strides she made for women both professionally and civically, and for promoting the interests of the U.S. and human rights abroad, she not only deserves this honor, but also the gratitude of the legal profession and the nation,” said ABA President Laurel G. Bellows.
The ABA Medal recognizes exceptionally distinguished service by a lawyer or lawyers to the cause of American jurisprudence.
Secretary Clinton began her legal career in 1969 at Yale Law School, where she took on cases of child abuse at the Yale-New Haven Hospital and volunteered at New Haven Legal Services. During this time, she is credited with playing an instrumental part in the passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, which requires schools to provide equal access to education for children with disabilities.
After law school, Secretary Clinton served as a member of the impeachment inquiry staff advising the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives during the Watergate investigation. In private practice, she continued pro bono child advocacy and eventually became her law firm’s first female full partner. In 1977, she co-founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families. She was the first female chair of the board of directors of the Legal Services Corp. from 1978 to 1980.
As a member of the ABA, Secretary Clinton also contributed to the advancement of women in the legal profession. In 1987, she became chair of the newly created ABA Commission on Women in the Profession. Under her leadership, the commission developed resources, including a groundbreaking manual, Lawyers and Balanced Lives, for employers and female lawyers on sexual harassment, parental leave and alternative work arrangements.
Secretary Clinton is best known for her public service, serving as the U.S. Secretary of State, the first female U.S. Senator from New York, and First Lady. As Secretary of State, her “smart power” approach to foreign policy repositioned American diplomacy and development for the 21st century. Clinton played a central role in restoring America’s standing in the world, reasserting the United States as a Pacific power, imposing crippling sanctions on Iran and North Korea, responding to the Arab Awakening and negotiating a ceasefire in the Middle East.
In 2010, Secretary Clinton met with the Azerbaijan Women’s Bar Association to acknowledge its rural education and legal aid efforts. The bar was founded with the support of the ABA Rule of Law Initiative. As a senator from 2001 to 2009, she sponsored legislation to benefit the people of New York and the nation, including the Paycheck Fairness Act which would assure that men and women have the legal tools necessary to challenge pay discrimination.
“The many triumphs of Secretary Clinton’s career in the law and public service inspire generations of young women as they walk through the doors that she opened for them,” Bellows said.
Reporters may register online for the 2013 ABA Annual Meeting. Press badges may be picked up at the meeting registration area, located in the Exhibition Hall on the first floor of the Moscone Center West, beginning at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 8. During the Annual Meeting, a press room for accredited journalists will be open on the second floor, in Overlook 2014, starting at 9 a.m. on Aug. 8. Thereafter, the press room will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will close one hour after the House of Delegates adjourns on Aug. 13.
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