The Virginia State Bar's Section on the Education of Lawyers in Virginia has established an award to honor William R. Rakes of Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore, LLP, for his long-standing and dedicated efforts in the field of legal education, both in Virginia and nationally. This award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated exceptional leadership and vision in developing and implementing innovative concepts to improve and enhance the state of legal education, and in enhancing relationships and professionalism among members of the academy, the bench and the bar within the legal profession in Virginia. The inaugural award was presented to Mr. Rakes in conjunction with the 20th Anniversary Conclave on the Education of Lawyers in Virginia in April. Mr. Rakes served as chair of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar from 2007-2007 during which time he convened three legal education conclaves.
Athornia Steele, dean of the Shepard Broad Law Center at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) was elected to the position of chair-elect of the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) at its 2012 Annual Meeting and Educational Conference held May 30 -June 2 in Florida. Dean Steele has been active with Law School Admission Council since the 1997, serving three terms on its board of trustees and as member of the organization’s Minority Affairs Committee, served as its chair from 2005 to 2007.
The Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law is the 2012 recipient of the ABA Award for Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy sponsored by the Section of Environment, Energy and Resources. The clinic represents the Waterkeepers Alliance in a suit alleging Perdue Farms, Inc. is polluting a nearby waterway. The case drew national attention when the Maryland legislature threatened to cut funding due to the lawsuit. A resolution reaffirming ABA support for the independence of law school clinical programs and opposition to attempts to interfere in the activities of such programs was proposed by the Section and adopted by the ABA House of Delegates in 2011.
Former Cook County Judge George Leighton, a noted civil rights attorney, was honored recently when the Cook County Criminal Court Building in Chicago was renamed the Honorable George N. Leighton Criminal Court Building. Judge Leighton was the first African-American to serve on the Illinois Appellate Court and served more than 10 years as an U.S. District Court judge. He served as chair of the Section in 1976-1977.