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ABA Medal

The Profession, Public Service, and Diversity Committee of the American Bar Association Board of Governors invites your nominations for the 2024 ABA Medal. Traditionally, nominations for the ABA Medal were due in May. However, beginning this year, the deadline has been moved to the first week of January to allow for additional time to publicize the achievements of the extraordinary recipients of this award. 

Other than this one change in the timeline, the guidelines and other items will remain the same. The ABA Medal will be presented at the Annual Meeting to a member of the bench or bar who has "rendered conspicuous service in the cause of American jurisprudence."

Consistent with the Association's commitment to diversity, we encourage you to include women and candidates of diverse backgrounds when considering potential nominees.

How To Submit a Nomination - Important Deadline Changes

Please submit the nomination form, including supplemental materials, to the attention of Christopher Corbett at the ABA Chicago office by Friday, January 5, 2024. The nominations will be transmitted to the Profession, Public Service, and Diversity Committee for action at the 2024 Midyear Meeting. The nominator or designee will have the opportunity to present their nomination, in person, to the Committee at the 2024 Midyear Meeting. All nominations are kept confidential.

Guidelines for Awarding the ABA Medal

  1. The award is given only in years when the Profession, Public Service, and Diversity Committee, with Board concurrence and after considering a broad national viewpoint, concludes that a leader of the bench or bar has truly "rendered conspicuous service to the cause of American jurisprudence." Annual presentation is not required. 
  2. Generally, such "conspicuous service" to the cause of American jurisprudence commands a broad participation in community and public service coupled with outstanding achievement as a leader on the bench, in legal education and research, or in practice as a lawyer, and it usually involves a combination of these. 
  3. The medal is not merely a past president's award, although "conspicuous service" may well have included such responsibility and honor. 
  4. Generally, a sitting judge in active service will not be considered where there might be the appearance of attempts to curry favor or endorsement of social attitudes and philosophy. 
  5. Nominations are invited from members of the House of Delegates, section and division chairs, affiliated organization presidents as listed in the ABA Directory and presidents of state bar associations. 
  6. Consideration of possible recipients shall be the continuing responsibility of the Profession, Public Service, and Diversity Committee in cooperation with the Board. Final recommendations for selection are to be submitted not later than the June Board of Governors Meeting. 
  7. Selection shall be followed by appropriate publicity, and presentation of the award shall be made in the manner and place determined by the Board. (BOG 2/91)

ABA Medal Recipients

1929 * Samuel Williston, Cambridge, MA
1930 * Elihu Root, New York, NY
1931 * Oliver Wendell Holmes, Boston, MA
1932 * John Henry Wigmore, Chicago, IL
1934 * George Woodward Wickersham, New York, NY
1938 * Herbert Harley, Ann Arbor, MI
1939 * Edgar Bronson Tolman, Chicago, IL
1940 * Roscoe Pound, Cambridge, MA
1941 * George Wharton Pepper, Philadelphia, PA
1942 * Charles Evans Hughes, Washington, DC
1943 * John J. Parker, Charlotte, NC
1944 * Hatton W. Sumners, Dallas, TX
1946 * Carl McFarland, Washington, DC
1947 * William L. Ransom, New York, NY
1948 * Arthur T. Vanderbilt, Newark, NJ
1950 * Orie L. Phillips, Denver, CO
1951 * Reginald Heber Smith, Boston, MA
1952 * Harrison Tweed, New York, NY
1953 * Frank E. Holman, Seattle, WA
1954 * George Maurice Morris, Washington,DC
1956 * Robert G. Storey, Dallas, TX
1957 * William Clark Mason, Philadelphia, PA
1958 * E. Smythe Gambrell, Atlanta, GA
1959 * Greenville Clark, New York, NY
1960 * William A. Schnader, Philadelphia, PA
1961 * Jacob Mark Lashly, Saint Louis, MO
1962 * Tom C. Clark, Washington, DC
1963 * Felix Frankfurter, Washington, DC
1964 * Henry S. Drinker, Philadelphia, PA
1965 * Edmund M. Morgan, Nashville, TN
1966 * Charles S. Rhyne, Washington, DC
1967 * Roger J. Traynor, San Francisco, CA
1968 * J. Edward Lumbard, Jr., New York, NY
1969 * Walter V. Schaefer, Chicago, IL
1970 * Frank C. Haymond, Charleston, WV
1971 * Whitney North Seymour, New York, NY
1972 * Harold J. Gallagher, New York, NY
1973 * William J. Jameson, Billings, MT
1974 * Ross. L. Malone, New York, NY
1975 * Leon Jaworski, Houston, TX
1976 * Bernard G. Segal, Philadelphia, PA
1977 * Edward L. Wright, Little Rock. AR
1978 * Erwin N. Griswold, Washington, DC
1979 * Lewis F. Powell, Jr., Washington, DC
1981 * Chesterfield Smith, Lakeland, FL
1982 * Earl F. Morris, Columbus, OH
1984 * Robert W. Meserve, Boston, MA
1986 * Justin A. Stanley, Chicago, IL
1987 * Warren E. Burger, Washington, DC
1988 * F. Wm. McCalpin, Saint Louis, MO
1989 * Wm. Reece Smith, Jr., Tampa, FL
1990 * A. Sherman Christensen, Salt Lake City, UT
1991 * Robert B. McKay, New York, NY
1992 * Thurgood Marshall, Washington, DC
1993 * Randolph W. Thrower, Atlanta, GA
1994 * William J. Brennan, Jr., Washington, DC
1995 * Shirley M. Hufstedler, Los Angeles, CA
1996 * John Minor Wisdom, New Orleans, LA
1997 Sandra Day O’Connor, Washington, DC
1998 * Morris Harrell, Dallas, TX
1999 * John H. Pickering, Washington, DC
2000 * Oliver W. Hill, Richmond, VA
2001 * Robert MacCrate, New York, NY
2002 William H. Webster, Washington, DC
2003 * Talbot D’Alemberte, Miami, FL
2004 * Father Robert F. Drinan, S.J., Washington, DC
2005 * George N. Leighton, Chicago, IL
2006 * Jerome J. Shestack, Philadelphia, PA
2007 Anthony M. Kennedy, Washington, DC
2008 * Patricia M. Wald, Washington, DC
2009 * William H. Gates, Sr., Seattle, WA
2010 * Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Washington, DC
2011 David Robert Boies, Armonk, NY
2011 Theodore B. Olson, Washington, DC
2012 Morris Seligman Dees, Jr., Montgomery, AL
2013 Hillary Rodham Clinton, Chappaqua, NY
2014 * Earl E. Anderson, Vienna, VA
2015 Roberta Cooper Ramo, Albuquerque, NM
2016 Dennis W. Archer, Detroit, MI
2017 John D. Feerick, New York, NY
2018 Bryan A. Stevenson, New York, NY
2019 Dale Minami, San Francisco, CA
2020 William H. Neukom, Seattle, WA 
2021 Lawrence J. Fox, Philadelphia, PA
2022 Justice Stephen G. Breyer, Washington, DC                                                                                      2023 Fred D. Gray, AL

* Deceased*