ABA announces 2023 Spirit of Excellence Award recipients

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Immediate past ABA President Reginald Turner will receive the 2023 Spirit of Excellence Award in February at the 2023 ABA Midyear Meeting, the ABA announced Tuesday.

The ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession presents the annual award to “lawyers who excel in their professional settings; personify excellence on the national, state or local level; and have demonstrated a commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in law,” according to an Oct. 4 ABA news release.

Turner will be joined by fellow honorees California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin H. Liu; Chief Judge Roger Gregory of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Richmond, Virginia; and Diandra Benally, the first female general counsel of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation.

“These outstanding individuals are an inspiration to all and show that we can all make a difference,” said Michelle Behnke, the chair of the commission, in the news release. “The awards ceremony should be spirited, as this will be our first in-person luncheon in two years.”

Behnke added that the ceremony, which is scheduled for Feb. 4, will feature Spirit of Excellence Award recipients from 2021 and 2022.

Barbara L. Creel, a professor at the University of New Mexico School of Law; Román D. Hernández, managing partner of the Portland, Oregon, office of Troutman Pepper; Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel emeritus of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; Lori E. Lightfoot, the mayor of Chicago; and John C. Yang, the president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, received the award in 2021.

Gabriel S. Galanda, managing lawyer at Galanda Broadman in Seattle; Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice Steven C. Gonzalez; Kay H. Hodge, equity partner at Stoneman, Chandler & Miller in Boston; Carlos E. Moore, managing partner of the Cochran Firm in Grenada, Mississippi; and Oregon Supreme Court Justice Adrienne C. Nelson were the 2022 honorees.

The ABA Midyear Meeting is happening from Feb. 1 to Feb. 6 in New Orleans.

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