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Women’s Commission announces 2020 Margaret Brent honorees

March 16, 2020

Five women with legal careers spanning nonprofit work, private practice, law school leadership and the judiciary, will receive the 2020 Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award from the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession. The award was established in 1991 to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of female lawyers who have achieved professional excellence within their specialty and paved the way for other women. An award ceremony and luncheon will take place on Sunday, Aug. 2, at the Swissotel Chicago during the American Bar Association Annual Meeting.

Margaret Brent Award honorees (left to right): Ruthe Catolico Ashley, Hon. Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, Deborah Epstein, Wendi Lazar and Regina Montoya.

Margaret Brent Award honorees (left to right): Ruthe Catolico Ashley, Hon. Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, Deborah Epstein, Wendi Lazar and Regina Montoya.

American Bar Association photo

“We applaud the achievements of this amazing group of women, knowing they’ll inspire all of us in the legal profession and the next generation of women lawyers,” said Stephanie Scharf, chair of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession.

Brent honorees include:

  • Ruthe Catolico Ashley, executive director emeritus at California LAW, a nonprofit that has established a pipeline of diverse students from high schools, community colleges, four-year institutions, and law schools into law or law-related careers. 
  • Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, chief judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.
  • Deborah Epstein, a law professor who has served as co-director of Georgetown University Law Center’s Domestic Violence Clinic for more than 25 years.
  • Wendi Lazar, a partner at Outten & Golden LLP in New York, N.Y., who co-heads the firm’s Individual Practice and the Executives and Professionals Practice Group, representing women in employment negotiations, partnership agreements, pay equity and discrimination issues.
  • Regina Montoya, CEO of Regina T. Montoya, PLLC, a health law firm in Dallas, Texas. Montoya served as vice chair of the Board of Directors of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and was the chair of the Dallas Mayor’s Task Force on Poverty.

Previous recipients of the award include U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  

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