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November 02, 2023

ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity announces 2024 Spirit of Excellence honorees

CHICAGO, Nov. 2, 2023 — The American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession has announced its 2024 Spirit of Excellence Award honorees. The Spirit of Excellence Award celebrates the efforts and accomplishments of lawyers who work to promote a more racially and ethnically diverse legal profession.

The awards will be presented on Feb. 3, 2024, during the ABA Midyear Meeting, Jan. 31–Feb. 5, 2024, in Louisville.

2024 Spirit of Excellence Award Ceremony       
Sponsored by the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession

12-2 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024

Omni Louisville Hotel
400 South 2nd Street
Louisville, KY

The 2024 Spirit of Excellence Award honorees include attorneys, military officers and judges who personify excellence in the profession:

  • Capt. Benes Z. Aldana has carved a legacy as a trailblazer in both the military and legal fields. He is the first Asian Pacific American chief trial judge in the U.S. military, following significant roles as an appellate judge, trial judge and prosecutor. He once led legal services for Coast Guard operations across 26 states.
  • Col. Jose A. Cora is an accomplished military officer and an advocate for the advancement and development of Hispanic and Latino judge advocates. He is an attorney in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps and an expert in government acquisitions and appropriations law. He currently serves as the Army’s chief of the Contract Litigation and Intellectual Property Division.
  • Judge Dolly Gee combines a brilliant legal mind with an unflinching devotion to the law. She is the first Chinese American woman to be nominated and confirmed as an Article III federal judge. As a jurist, she has presided over a number of landmark cases protecting the rights of migrants.
  • Sara Hill is committed to creating a more diverse, inclusive and equitable world for the betterment not only of her tribe and tribal members, but all Oklahomans, Native Americans and countless others impacted by her efforts nationally and internationally. She recently was nominated to the serve on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma.
  • Juan R. Thomas is a changemaker, mentor and source of inspiration for many diverse attorneys. He serves as of counsel to Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., and is the founder and principal of The Thomas Law Group. He is listed as one of the Top 100 National Black Trial Lawyers.

For media registration, please contact Shanda T. Ivory at [email protected].

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on X (formerly Twitter) @ABANews.