Annual Meeting Report

ABA Medal winner John Feerick voiced his support for Legal Services Corp., volunteering

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John Feerick accepts the ABA Medal from then-ABA President Linda Klein at the ABA Annual Meeting. Photo by Len Irish.

John D. Feerick, winner of the 2017 ABA Medal, called on lawyers to help close the justice gap by volunteering to help those in need and by supporting the Legal Services Corp.

“Why not find a place to serve or create a program that can make a difference?” Feerick asked.

The former dean of Fordham University School of Law, Feerick spoke at the ABA Annual Meeting’s General Assembly, where he received the association’s highest honor.

ABA President Linda A. Klein said the world needs leaders with dignity, veracity and humility, and Feerick embodies those qualities. He is known for his compassion and dedication to others, she said, and he has been described as a great moral compass.

Feerick spoke about mentors and role models in his life who taught him about acting with integrity, aspiring to excellence and serving the community. They included his immigrant parents, his teachers, his law dean, his colleagues and President John F. Kennedy.

Feerick’s successes began as a young lawyer when he helped draft the 25th Amendment on presidential succession, ratified 50 years ago. The amendment sets up procedures for removal when the president becomes disabled and provides that the vice president becomes president if the president dies, resigns or is removed from office.

During his speech, Feerick also referred to a report released in June that said low-income Americans will approach LSC-funded legal aid organizations for help with an estimated 1.7 million problems this year. But for more than half of these issues, limited or no legal assistance will be received.

“The challenge can’t be met solely through volunteering,” Feerick said. “It’s a society problem.”

This article appeared in the October 2017 issue of the ABA Journal with the headline “ABA Medal Winner Supports LSC, Volunteering"

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