Past Recipients


2012 Wallace Jefferson
After graduating law school, Jefferson began working at Groce, Locke and Hebdon in San Antonio. In 1991 he founded Crofts, Callaway and Jefferson appellate law firm with Tom Crofts and Sharon Callaway. Developing a reputation for excellence, Jefferson successfully argued two cases before the Supreme Court before turning 35, a distinction held by only one percent of lawyers. In 2001 Jefferson’s appointment made him the first African American to sit on the Texas Supreme Court and the first to serve as that court’s chief justice. Learn more >>

2010 Nancy Gertner

Judge Gertner has written widely on legal issues including constitutional and criminal law, criminal procedure, sex discrimination law, and the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. She has worked internationally, teaching women’s rights and human rights in Europe, Asia, and Africa, including training Cambodian lawyers appearing before the War Crimes Tribunal there and working to rebuild a legal system in Liberia. Learn more >>

2008 Leonie M. Brinkema
In 1993 Brinkema was nominated by President Bill Clinton for her current position. She has presided over major cases including ruling in favor of the Washington Post and former Scientologist Arnie Lerma in a lawsuit filed by the Church of Scientology. She sentenced truck driver and al-Qaeda operative Iyman Faris to 20 years in prison for providing material support in a case involving an attempt to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge. In 2006, as she sentenced Moussaoui, she said, "You came here to be a martyr and die in a great big bang of glory, but to paraphrase the poet T.S. Eliot, instead you will die with a whimper." Learn more >> 

2006 Frank M. Coffin
Judge Coffin's career spanned two terms in the U.S. Congress and more than 40 years on the bench of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. A mentor to nearly 70 clerks, including former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, Coffin has also been an advocate for legal assistance to low-income Maine residents. Learn more >>

2004 Richard Sheppard Arnold
United States Circuit Judge Richard Sheppard Arnold of Little Rock, Ark., is a U.S. Circuit Judge for the Eighth District. Arnold was born in Texarkana, Texas, in 1936 and was raised in Arkansas. He attended undergraduate school at Yale and law school at Harvard, graduating first in his class from both schools.  Learn More >>

2002 Ann Claire Williams
Judge Williams, a pioneering African-American jurist, began her career as a teacher in inner-city Detroit. After earning her law degree from Notre Dame University in 1975 she began her legal career as a law clerk in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. From 1976 to 1985 Williams worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Chicago. Learn More >>

2001 Guido Calabresi
United States Circuit Judge Guido Calabresi of New Haven, Conn., was chosen as the inaugural recipient of the Morton A. Brody Distinguished Judicial Service Award, presented on April 18, 2001. Calabresi also received an honorary doctor of laws degree and delivered a public lecture in Given Auditorium. Learn More >>