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Spirit of Excellence Award

This annual award honors those who have achieved excellence and supported others within their legal careers.

2024 ABA Spirit of Excellence Awards 

ABA 2024 SOE Announcement from victor powell on Vimeo.

Congratulate 2024 Honorees

  • Colonel Jose A. Cora
  • Hon. Benes Z. Aldana
  • Judge Dolly Gee
  • Judge Sara Hill
  • Juan R. Thomas

Become a Spirit Supporter

Would you like to be a supporter for the Spirit of Excellence Awards?

For details about Spirit of Excellence Award levels of support please contact [email protected]

All supporters will be acknowledged on a prominently placed sign at the luncheon, listed in the commemorative program book, and recognized for their contributions according to their level of support.     

More questions? Please contact Keevin Woods ([email protected]), Commission on Racial & Ethnic Diversity in the Profession Staff Director.

Past Spirit of Excellence Honorees

2023  Acceptance Videos 
Diandra D. Benally
Hon. Roger L. Gregory 
Hon. Goodwin H. Liu
Reginald M. Turner Jr.

2022 Acceptance Videos  
Gabriel S. Galanda 
Chief Justice Steven C. González
Kay H. Hodge
Justice Adrienne C. Nelson
Hon. Carlos E. Moore 

2021 Acceptance videos
Barbara Creel 
Román Hernández
Sherrilyn Ifill
Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot
John C. Yang

2020
Patty Ferguson- Bohnee 
Donise Brown
Honorable Lora J. Livingston
Richard Pena
Donald Tamaki

2019
Willie E. Gary
Pamela Jones Harbour
John Lim
Honorable Peter M. Reyes, Jr.

2018
Alan Braverman
Heather Kendall Miller
Honorable James A. Wynn
Major General (Ret.) Kenneth D. Gray

2017
Thomas Fredericks
Peggy A. Nagae
Kenneth G. Standard
Stephen N. Zack

Spirit Program Books

The Spirit of Excellence Awards would not be possible without the generous contributions of our sponsors!

2023 Spirit of Excellence Program Book

2022 Spirit of Excellence Program Book

2021 Spirit of Excellence Program Book

2020 Spirit of Excellence Program Book 

2019 Spirit of Excellence Program Book 

2018 Spirit of Excellence Program Book 

2017 Spirit of Excellence Program Book 

About the Spirit of Excellence Award

Award Motto: "Ad Astra Per Aspera"
The motto of the Spirit of Excellence Awards is "Ad Astra Per Aspera": To the Stars Through Difficulty. The Spirit of Excellence Award symbolizes the struggle of racially and ethnically diverse lawyers as they travel the road to personal and professional success. Special indeed is the person who can navigate his or her own way, while paving the way and assisting those who follow.

Award Purpose
The Spirit of Excellence Awards celebrate the efforts and accomplishments of lawyers who work to promote a more racially and ethnically diverse legal profession. Awards are presented to the lawyers who excel in their professional settings; who personify excellence on the national and international level; and who have demonstrated a commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the legal professional.

Award Design
The Spirit of Excellence Award, designed by Mario Fernandez, symbolizes the dreams and aspirations that are unique to every individual. The three arms of gold, silver, and bronze reaching up and joining to hold a perfect star – reflects the common goals of equality, diversity, and justice that the Spirit of Excellence Award represents.