chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.
March 11, 2021

ABA announces finalists for 2021 Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts

WASHINGTON, March 11, 2021 —The American Bar Association today announced the 22 finalists for the 2021 Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts, which recognize outstanding work that fosters the American public’s understanding of law and the legal system. This is the ABA’s highest honor in recognition of this purpose. 

“We were blessed with many excellent entries in the various categories, and the ABA Gavel Awards Screening Committee had a difficult task in selecting these outstanding finalists,” said Sharon Stern Gerstman, chair of the Standing Committee on Gavel Awards. “We congratulate the finalists and thank them for the submission of their excellent works.” 

The winners will be announced on May 20. No more than one Silver Gavel is presented in each category. Honorable Mentions are also recognized, but awards are not presented in every category every year.

The ABA Gavel Awards Screening Committee of 50 lawyer-members of the ABA selected the 22 finalists from 130 entries received in all eligible categories, which include books, commentaries, documentaries, drama and literature, magazines, multimedia, newspapers, radio and television.

Selection criteria include how the entry addresses the Silver Gavel Awards’ purpose and objectives; educational value of legal information; impact on, or outreach to, the public; thoroughness and accuracy in presentation of issues; creativity and originality in approach to subject matter and effectiveness of presentation; and demonstrated technical skill in the entry’s production.

The ABA has presented these awards each year since 1958. The 18-member ABA Standing Committee on Gavel Awards makes the final award decisions. ABA President Patricia Lee Refo  will present Silver Gavels and Honorable Mentions on July 13 during a Live/Virtual event from 5:15-7:30 p.m. at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. David McCraw, vice president and deputy general counsel at The New York Times Company, will be the featured speaker.

To learn more about the Silver Gavel Awards, go to Silver Gavel (

The following is a complete list of finalists with links to their work:


“Cyber Privacy: Who Has Your Data and Why You Should Care”
BenBella Books, Inc.
April Falcon Doss, author

“Marriage Equality: From Outlaws to In-Laws”
Yale University Press
William Eskridge and Christopher Riano, authors
William Frucht, editor

“On Treason: A Citizen’s Guide to the Law”
Ecco/Harper Collins
Carlton Larson, author

“Separated: Inside an American Tragedy”
Custom House/HarperCollins
Jacob Soboroff, author

“Supreme Inequality”
Penguin Press
Adam Cohen, author


“Driving While Black: Race, Space and Mobility in America”
Steeplechase Films and The Cooperstown Graduate Program
Emily Pfeil, Kathryn Clinard and Steven Bennet, producers
Gretchen Sorin and Ric Burns, writers, directors
Emir Lewis, editor, producer

“Belly of the Beast”
Idle Wild Films
Erika Cohn, director/producer
Angela Tucker, Christen Marquez and Nicole Docta, producers

“The Vote”
American Experience, A 42nd Parallel Films Production for American Experience
Michelle Ferrari, writer, director, producer
Connie Honeycutt, producer
Nancy Novack and Ilya Chaiken, editors
Mark Samels and Susan Bellows, executive producers


“Fear, Illness and Death in ICE Detention”
Type Investigations
Seth Freed Wessler, reporting fellow

“The 1857 Project”
Gateway Journalism Review
William Freivogel, publisher
Steve Edwards, illustrator
Amelia Blakely and Kayla Chamness, student reporters


“American Injustice”
Reuters Staff

The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting / The Maine Monitor
Daniel Dinsmore, editor
Samantha Hogan, senior reporter


“Myron Burell Walks Free”
Associated Press
Robin McDowell and Margie Mason, reporters
Sasha Aslanian, producer
John Minchillo, photographer

Tampa Bay Times
Kathleen McGrory and Adam Playford, investigations editors
Neil Bedi, investigative reporter
Douglas Clifford, staff photojournalist


“Buried Truths” Season 3 | Ahmaud Arbery
Je-Anne Berry and John Haas, executive producers
David Barasoain, senior producer
Richard Halicks and Hank Klibanoff, writers

“Deep Background with Noah Feldman”
Pushkin Industries
Noah Feldman, host
Lidia Jean Kott, producer
Sophie Crane McKibben, showrunner
Martin Gonzalez, engineer
Luis Guerra, music

“Louder Than a Riot”
Rodney Carmichael and Sidney Madden, hosts/reporters
Rachel Neel, senior supervising producer
Michael May, Matt Ozug, Dustin DeSoto, Adelina Lancianese and Sam Leeds, producers
Chiquita Paschal and Chenjerai Kumanyika, editors
Steve Nelson, senior programming director
Lauren Onkey, senior music director

“No Special Duty”
WNYC / New York Public Radio, Radiolab
Sarah Qari and B.A. Parker, reporters, producers
Matthew Kielty, senior producer
Pat Walters, senior editor
Jad Abumrad, host


“60 Minutes: Voting in the Pandemic”
CBS News 60 Minutes
Bill Whitaker, correspondent
Marc Lieberman, Ali Rawaf and Guy Campanile, producers
Richard Buddenhagen, Craig Crawford and Michael Mongulla, editors
Emilio Almonte and Lucy Hatcher, associate producers

“60 Minutes: Florida's Amendment 4”
CBS News 60 minutes
Sara Kuzmarov, coordinating producer
Lesley Stahl, correspondent
Shachar Bar-On, producer
Natalie Jiminez Peel, associate producer
Sean Kelly, editor

“Accused: Guilty or Innocent?”
A&E and Brinkworth Production
Malcolm Brinkworth, Xander Brinkworth, David Herman, Brad Holcman, Shelly Tatro and Elaine Frontain Bryant, executive producers
Matt Kennedy, director/producer
Oliver Banks, producer
Ben Gates and Sam Eastall, editors
Sunshine Jackson, series editor

“Justice for All”
CBS News