At its luncheon on August 3 during the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago, the Section’s Jefferson Fordham Society honored professional excellence in the practice of state and local government law by presenting its annual Jefferson Fordham Awards. Gary, Indiana, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson was the keynote speaker for the event, and the following state and local government law practitioners were recognized for their contributions to the profession.
Daniel J. Curtin Lifetime Achievement Award
Stephen H. Pughm, Pugh, Jones & Johnson, P.C., Chicago, Illinois
Stephen Pugh is the president of Pugh, Jones & Johnson, P.C. Since the firm’s founding in 1991, Mr. Pugh has practiced in the areas of complex real estate litigation, directors and officers liability cases, internal and external corporate investigations, general and complex commercial litigation, and represented major governmental and educational entities in a variety of areas. Mr. Pugh serves as a hearing officer for the Chicago Board of Education in contractor debarment proceedings, has tried numerous jury and bench trials, has argued before U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals and the Illinois Supreme Court, and is a member of the U.S. Supreme Court bar. He has the distinction of having tried the first civil RICO jury trial in the Northern District of Illinois.
Mr. Pugh served as law clerk to the Honorable James B. Parsons, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and as special trial attorney in the Honors Program for the U.S. Department of Justice. He was associated with the law firm of Chapman and Cutler and served as a partner for eight years. Mr. Pugh has acted as bond counsel and underwriter’s counsel for governmental issuers of general obligation bonds, tax anticipation notes, tender notes, and certain revenue bonds, with transactions ranging from $1 million to complex $10 billion deals.
He is listed in the Red Book. He has been named an Illinois Super Lawyer bySuper Lawyers and Law & Politics magazines for the years 2005 through 2012. The Leading Lawyers Network selected Mr. Pugh as a Leading Lawyer in 2006–2011.
Stephen J. Acquario
New York State Association of Counties/New York State County Executives Association, Albany, New York
Stephen J. Acquario was appointed Executive Director/General Counsel of the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) in December 2004. In this capacity, he is responsible for the overall direction of the Association, including coordinating and prioritizing agendas to assure a cohesive, coherent legal, and legislative strategy on behalf of New York State’s 62 county governments.
Mr. Acquario represents elected and appointed county officials before all branches of federal, state, and local government and interacts on a regular basis with the executive and legislative branches of state government. NYSAC’s mission is to educate, represent, and advocate in a bi-partisan political manner for New York’s 62 counties. NYSAC is the only statewide association representing the elected and appointed county officials of New York State, including the City of New York.
Before this appointment, Mr. Acquario served as the Association’s legislative director and general counsel. Since 1989, he has dedicated his professional life to working to educate state policymakers and the general public about the benefits of having a modern and efficient form of county government in the State of New York.
Mr. Acquario graduated from Albany Law School of Union University (magna cum laude) and earned a graduate certificate in Industrial Labor Relations from Cornell University. He is a graduate of the State University of New York College at Potsdam.
Up & Comer Award Recipient
Sarah Weber Langlois
Rogers, Morris & Grover, L.L.P., Houston, Texas
Sarah Weber Langlois focuses her practice on representing school districts in employment, governance, open government, students, contracts, and procurement matters. Her practice includes representing school districts in matters at administrative levels and in litigation, and she frequently conducts trainings for school districts relating to a variety of school law matters. Ms. Langlois is admitted to practice in Texas and is also admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Eastern, Northern, and Western Districts of Texas.
Ms. Langlois graduated summa cum laude from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2003 with a B.A. in Mass Communications−Print Journalism and was honored as the College of Liberal Arts Outstanding Graduate. She graduated first in her class, summa cum laude, from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law in 2006 and was an editor of the Loyola Law Review, a member of the National Moot Court Team, and a William Crowe Scholar. Her comment, Dismantling the Dictated Moral Code: Modifying Louisiana’s In Vitro Fertilization Statutes to Protect Patients’ Procreative Liberty, was published in the Loyola Law Review in January 2005. Ms. Langlois earned the distinction of a “Texas Rising Star” from Texas Law & Politics Magazine in schools and education in 2010, 2011, and 2012.