William H. Neukom — an international champion for justice who has devoted his life and career to public service, access to justice and advancing the rule of law — will be honored with the ABA Medal at the American Bar Association’s virtual Annual Meeting, the association has announced.
The ABA Medal, the association’s highest honor, recognizes exceptionally distinguished service by a lawyer or lawyers to the cause of American jurisprudence.
Neukom is the founder and chief executive officer of the World Justice Project (WJP), an organization devoted to promoting the rule of law throughout the world. He was the lead lawyer for Microsoft Corporation for nearly 25 years, managing its legal, government affairs and philanthropic activities. A retired partner in the Seattle office of the international law firm K&L Gates, Neukom is a lecturer at Stanford Law School, where he teaches a seminar on the rule of law.
“Bill Neukom’s service to the legal profession and the public tell only part of his journey as a lawyer-statesperson,” ABA President Judy Perry Martinez said. “As founder of the World Justice Project, Bill has transformed how society thinks about, measures, and reports on the rule of law throughout the world. Yet some of his most valuable contributions came early in his career when he changed the lives of individuals he came to know through his work as their lawyer, when they needed him most.”
Neukom, a former president of the ABA, will receive the ABA Medal during the General Assembly at 5 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, July 29 at the ABA’s virtual Annual Meeting.
“I am indebted to the American Bar Association for decades of opportunities to improve my skills as a lawyer and to be a part of its mission to defend liberty and deliver justice to a broad cross-section of the public," Neukom said.
Through Neukom’s leadership, the WJP has become the preeminent global organization for measuring the rule of law through original research and data. It promotes justice, opportunity and peace wherever people are denied basic human rights to safety, freedom and justice because the rule of law in their land is weak or nonexistent.
Neukom has a distinguished record of service to the ABA. While president in 2007-08, he established the Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI), organized an ABA members’ march in solidarity with embattled judges and lawyers in Pakistan, and launched the World Justice Project. He has also chaired the ABA Young Lawyers Division, served as secretary of the association and as Washington state delegate to the ABA House of Delegates. He currently serves as a special adviser to the ABA Center on Innovation.
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