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The John H. Pickering Award of Achievement was established in 2007 in recognition of John H. Pickering's brilliant legal work, his advocacy of pro bono service, his dedication to the cause of equal justice for all, and his promotion of the highest standards of ethics and professionalism in the law.

After graduating from the University of Michigan, he served two years as law clerk to Justice Frank Murphy of the U.S. Supreme Court. An expert in Supreme Court practice and procedure, he played a major role in a number of high profile cases including the "steel seizure" case in the Truman Administration, the attempted ouster of Congressman Adam Clayton Powell from the House of Representatives, various Civil Rights cases, physician-assisted suicide, legal services for the poor and the University of Michigan use of race as a factor in admissions among many others.  His law firm was dedicated to devoting at least 10% of its time to pro bono and public service as billable time.

He served as president of the District of Columbia Bar from 1979 to 1980 and was named its "Lawyer of the Year" in 1996.  John also served as Chair of the Senior Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association.

In 1999, he received the highest honor bestowed by the ABA, the ABA medal for "conspicuous service in the cause of American jurisprudence."  John died in 2005 at the age of 89.