November 04, 2016

Miami lawyer Stephen N. Zack to receive ABA 2017 Spirit of Excellence Award

WASHINGTON, Nov. 4, 2016 — Stephen N. Zack, a Miami trial lawyer and a past president of the American Bar Association, has been selected by the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession as one of four recipients of its 2017 Spirit of Excellence Award for his commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession. The award will be presented during a ceremony on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Miami.

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

Also being honored along with Zack during the ABA Spirit of Excellence Award Luncheon on Saturday, Feb. 4, from noon to 2 p.m. at the JW Marriott Marquis, 255 Biscayne Blvd Way in Miami, are attorneys Thomas W. Fredericks of Boulder, Colo.; Peggy Nagae of Portland, Ore.; and Kenneth G. Standard of New York.

Zack is a Board certified trial lawyer and a widely recognized leader. He was the first Hispanic American to assume the ABA presidency, serving from 2010 to 2011. As ABA president he visited and spoke with bar associations, law schools, the judiciary and the media in 22 countries about the rule of law and professional integrity. He also created the Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities; the Commission on Civic Education in the Nation’s Schools; and the Task Force on Preservation of the Justice System.

Zack was also the first Hispanic American and youngest president of the Florida Bar. He has served as president of the National Conference of Bar Presidents and as the chair of the ABA House of Delegates. He is also a fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.

He was nominated by President Barack Obama for the position of Alternate U.S. Representative to the 68th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, and he served as senior advisor to the U.S. State Department. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Zack’s main practice as a civil trial lawyer is in the areas of products liability, class actions and federal multi-district litigation, complex commercial litigation, arbitration, international law and voting rights. He has represented former Florida Gov. and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham as general counsel, and he represented former Vice President Al Gore in the trial of Bush v. Gore that involved the 2000 presidential election. His class action cases include Takata, Volkswagen and General Motors.

The mission of the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession is to promote racial and ethnic diversity and inclusion within the legal profession. The commission serves as a catalyst for change, so that the profession may more accurately reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of society and better serve society. The commission promotes the recruitment, hiring, promotion and advancement of attorneys of color and works to ensure equal membership and employment opportunities for diverse lawyers in the ABA. The commission accomplishes all this through many initiatives, activities and programs, including the annual Spirit of Excellence Award.

Click here for a photo of Zack.

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