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August 30, 2022

ABA Honors Senators and State Bar Leaders for Efforts to Preserve the Rule of Law

The ABA honored NABE and NCBP with the Grassroots Award and Sens. Durbin and Cornyn with Lifetime Achievement Awards at the Annual Meeting.

The ABA honored NABE and NCBP with the Grassroots Award and Sens. Durbin and Cornyn with Lifetime Achievement Awards at the Annual Meeting.

During this month’s Annual Meeting in Chicago, the ABA presented several awards to mark the 25th anniversary of ABA Day, the association’s annual grassroots event.

On August 6, then-ABA President Reginald Turner presented Lifetime Achievement Awards during the ABA General Assembly to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) for their commitment to access to justice and preserving the rule of law during the last 25 years of ABA advocacy on Capitol Hill.

While Sen. Durbin planned to accept the award in person, the Senate’s agenda changed requiring him to stay in Washington DC for the “final legislative sprint” before recess. Sen. Durbin told attendees virtually that “we share a common goal,” which is “equal justice under the law.” He also urged them to “stay engaged,” and thanked the ABA “for fighting to preserve our liberties for the next generation.”

Durbin was cited for his “enduring commitment to improving the administration of justice and preserving the rule of law through the legislative process,” in particular his “steadfast support for increased resources for the Legal Services Corporation and the Federal Judiciary, student debt relief and public service loan forgiveness and criminal justice and immigration reforms that align with our advocacy objectives.”

Cornyn was also cited for his support for the Legal Services Corporation, as well as for “legislative proposals to combat domestic violence and human trafficking, student debt relief, criminal justice reform, and, most recently, [his] leadership in obtaining passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.”

In his video, Cornyn thanked those “who have selflessly volunteered [their] services to improve our nation’s justice system.” 

Previously, on August 5th, ABA Day Planning Committee Chair Bill Bay presented Grassroots Advocacy Awards to the National Conference of Bar Presidents (NCBP) and the National Association of Bar Executives (NABE).

The Grassroots Advocacy Award is the Association’s highest recognition for those who go above and beyond in educating and advocating to Congress on the priorities of the organized bar, including access to justice, promoting the rule of law, and protecting the independence of the judiciary

Chair Bay thanked NCBP and NABE for partnering with the ABA on an experiment 25 years ago when ABA Day first started and every year since then. Bay told state and local bar leaders attending the event that “we are truly stronger, together, because of the role your organizations have played as cosponsors and cornerstones in the success of ABA Day.”

NCBP President Mike Freed and NABE President Kevin Ryan accepted the awards on behalf of their respective organizations.

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