November 04, 2016

New York lawyer Kenneth G. Standard to receive 2017 ABA Spirit of Excellence Award

WASHINGTON, Nov. 4, 2016 —  New York lawyer Kenneth G. Standard has been selected by the American Bar Association 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 Standard 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 Stephen N. Zack of Miami.

Standard is a pathfinder whose leadership throughout his life as the “first” has created an array of opportunities for many. He inspired his colleagues in the New York State Bar Association Corporate Counsel Section to create an internship program to provide summer in-house internship positions for law students from a diverse range of backgrounds. That effort also led to his creation of the New York State Bar Association Youth Law Day programs that have provided thousands of inner-city high school students with the opportunity to spend the day at a New York State law school taking mock classes and interacting with diverse lawyers, law students and law faculty. Standard and his late wife, Valerie, established an educational opportunity fund at the New York State Bar Foundation.

Another path led to Standard’s inclusion in The HistoryMakers collection, a series of audio and video clips of African-Americans who have influenced history that is archived at the Library of Congress.

Standard is a former member of Epstein Becker & Green PC (EBG), was the firm’s first general counsel and is now general counsel emeritus. Standard also is chair emeritus of EBG’s National Diversity and Professional Development Committee, which includes members from each of its 13 offices nationwide. He also is a popular public speaker, both nationally and internationally.

Standard is a longtime member of the ABA and of the ABA House of Delegates. He served on its Board of Governors from 2010-15, chairing its Executive Compensation Committee from 2014–15. He also has served as a member of several ABA entities and in 2011 was presented with the ABA’s Alexander Award for Lifetime Achievement in Pipeline Diversity, for his exemplary leadership and work to increase diversity in the legal profession.

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 Standard.

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