The National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) Exemplar Award annually honors members of the corporate counsel or private law firm communities who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, vision, dedication and achievement in promoting and supporting equal justice.
Each Exemplar honoree has made invaluable commitments and contributions to pro bono and public service and supported NLADA’s work to provide equal access to justice for all. See the full list of winners here. (link based on awards database)
The 2016 Exemplar honoree will be announced soon.
For information, please contact Helen Katz, chief development officer, at [email protected] or 202-452-0620, ext. 223.
Exemplar Award Winners
Through his leadership at Hewlett-Packard Company (HP), John has shown an extraordinary dedication to community service and contributed significantly to access to justice initiatives.
HP signed the Corporate Pro Bono Challenge in 2007 and has since developed a sophisticated program that is a model for other in-house legal departments across the country. Members of the HP legal team have contributed tens of thousands of hours to improve the lives of countless people in critical need of legal services. Highlights of their impressive work include: providing legal assistance to ensure that veterans receive the benefits that they bravely earned; scaling a record clearance clinic to other communities through innovative public-private collaborations; teaching hundreds of high school students, each year, through legal education workshops; and regularly hosting local legal aid clinics to assist homeless individuals, natural disaster victims, and other underserved populations across the country and around the world.
John was named Chair of NLADA’s Corporate Advisory Committee (CAC) in 2014, after serving as an integral member of NLADA’s Corporate Advisory Committee for several years. Under his leadership, NLADA is relaunching the Committee to engage a broader network of corporate legal leaders. This growth will enable the CAC to play a more prominent role in advancing NLADA’s mission and initiatives through unique engagement opportunities with the organization’s civil legal aid and public defense members, as well as the client community.
John was named Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Hewlett-Packard Company in April 2012. He was previously Deputy General Counsel for Litigation, Investigations and Global Functions, where he managed all major litigation filed against HP globally, including intellectual property, government investigations, and commercial and employment disputes.
Over the last twenty years, Merck has grown its pro bono program through the development of countless projects and partnerships. Highlights of its far-reaching activities include: representing consumer debtors filing bankruptcy; helping veterans in overcoming legal barriers to employment; providing litigation and advice for tenants in legal disputes; and assisting low-income Holocaust survivors claiming reparations from Germany.
Bruce’s generosity and longstanding collaboration with NLADA have resulted in groundbreaking initiatives, notably a statewide veterans coalition program in North Carolina addressing civil and criminal legal needs. In 2011, in recognition of his enormous contributions to the pro bono community, he was named NLADA’s Chair of the Corporate Advisory Committee (CAC). His expertise and guidance resulted in an increase of corporate members and the creation of the Public-Private Action (PPA) initiative, expanding effective public-private partnerships which advance the cause of equal justice.
Bruce serves as head of Merck’s Office of General Counsel and also is responsible for the company’s Global Communications, Public Policy, Corporate Responsibility and Security functions. His unwavering commitment as an active leader of our mission is an inspirational reminder of the capacity we all have to make a difference.
Teri Plummer McClure
Teri’s extraordinary leadership at UPS has significantly expanded the legal department’s pro bono program in partnership with organizations such as the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Georgia Justice Project and Street Law, Inc. The innovative public-private partnerships have transformed the delivery, quality and capacity of many legal aid services. Through this work, UPS has greatly enhanced the provision of legal services to underserved groups, including juveniles and seniors, and contributed to programs that supplement legal support through community engagement and other types of assistance to clients. An active board member of the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Teri’s leadership has resulted in the provision of UPS attorneys who work full-time with the legal aid provider for a number of months.
Teri has graciously brought her leadership, vision, and expertise to NLADA by becoming a member of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Public-Private Action (PPA), which aims to expand effective public-private partnerships to advance the cause of equal justice. As a result of that effort, the first PPA pilot program, a statewide collaborative to assist veterans in North Carolina, is now ripe for replication across the country.
Teri joined the UPS Corporate Legal Department in 1995, and was appointed General Counsel and Corporate Secretary in 2006. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and daughters, where they are active with many church-related, civic, and community organizations.
Laura Stein serves as senior vice president – general counsel of The Clorox Company, with responsibility for the company's worldwide legal, ethics and compliance, corporate secretary, corporate communications, crisis management, risk management and internal audit matters. Stein serves on the Clorox executive committee, chairs the Clorox women's employee resource group, and co-sponsors the company's social responsibility and enterprise risk management programs, among other responsibilities. She works closely with Clorox's board of directors on governance matters.
Stein is a director of Franklin Resources, Inc. (a global investment organization known as Franklin Templeton Investments), and was previously a director of Nash Finch Company. She is co-chair of the Corporate Pro Bono Advisory Board. Stein is on the board of Equal Justice Works, the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, the Harvard Law School Program on the Future of the Legal Profession, and the American Judicature Society. She is a member of the American Law Institute, the ACC Value Challenge Steering Committee and the executive committee of the Association of General Counsel. She is a member of the ABA Presidential Task Force on the Preservation of Justice. Stein participates in the Diversity and Flexibility Connection of the Project for Attorney Retention. Previously, Stein was chair of the Association of Corporate Counsel, the ABA Commission on Domestic Violence and the ABA Asia Rule of Law Initiative; vice-chair of the East Bay Community Law Center; co-chair of the General Counsel Committee of the ABA Business Law Section; and a director of Global Education Partnership, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater. She previously also served on the advisory boards of ABA DirectWomen, the ABA Center for Human Rights, and the LexMundi Foundation, and on the State Bar of California Task Force on Lawyer Support for Legal Services and the ABA Section of International Law Council.
Stein has received the ABA Margaret Brent Award, the Legal Momentum Women of Achievement Award, the Sandra Day O'Connor Board Excellence Award, the Ted Craig Humanitarian Award and the Corporate Board Member America's Top General Counsel Recognition Award. The National Law Journal has named Stein as one of the 20 most influential general counsel in America. The Harvard Law Bulletin has highlighted Stein as one of 50 alumnae who "have used their law degree to take them to extraordinary places." She has been named one of the Bay Area's Most Influential Women in Business by the San Francisco Business Times and was previously named one of Pennsylvania's Best Women in Business by Pennsylvania's Governor. Stein speaks six languages and has lived in China and Italy.
Smith leads Microsoft’s Department of Legal and Corporate Affairs (LCA) — which has more than 1,000 employees and is responsible for the company’s legal work — its intellectual property portfolio and patent licensing business, and its government affairs and philanthropic work. He also serves as Microsoft’s chief compliance officer.
Smith has helped advance several significant diversity and pro bono initiatives, both within Microsoft and in the broader legal profession. He currently co-chairs the board of directors of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) and serves as chair of the Pipeline Committee of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity.
Smith has also played a central role in ensuring that Microsoft fulfills its corporate responsibilities. In recent years, Microsoft has consistently ranked in the top 2 percent of the S&P 500 for corporate governance scores. During Smith’s tenure, the company’s citizenship programs have reached almost 300 million people in 120 countries through technology training programs that help individuals develop skills needed to obtain jobs.
Smith is also Microsoft’s senior executive responsible for the company’s corporate citizenship in Washington State. He has served as chair of the Washington Roundtable, a leading Washington state-based business organization. In 2010, he chaired for Washington Governor Christine Gregoire her Higher Education Funding Task Force, and in 2011 he helped advocate for the successful adoption by the legislature of the task force’s recommendations, including tuition-setting authority and increased accountability for the state’s public universities and for the nation’s first private-public funded endowment to enable more students to attend college. During the past year, Smith and his wife, Kathy Surace-Smith, co-chaired the annual campaign for the United Way King County, the country’s largest United Way Campaign.
Before joining Microsoft in 1993, Smith was a partner at Covington & Burling, having worked in the firm’s Washington, D.C., and London offices. He graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University and received his law degree at the Columbia University School of Law. He also studied international law and economics at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. Smith has written numerous articles regarding international intellectual property and Internet policy issues, and has served as a lecturer at The Hague Academy of International Law.
There is ample evidence of Smith’s devotion to the well being of others and his commitment to strengthening that principle within every institution he touches, from his earliest days. At Princeton, he won the Harold Willis Dodds Achievement Award — the highest award given to a senior at commencement — for “clear thinking, moral courage, a patient and judicious concern for the opinions of others, and a thoroughgoing devotion to the welfare of the University.” In addition, his graduating class voted to award him the Class of 1901 Medal, for the senior “who has done the most for Princeton.” A Dewitt Clinton Poole Memorial Prize Scholarship helped to support Smith’s senior thesis on international refugee law at the headquarters of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, in Geneva, Switzerland.
Smith’s many other honors include the 2007 Scales of Justice Award, by Equal Justice Works for significant contributions to the advancement of pro bono legal work; the 2009 A. Leon Higginbotham Corporate Leadership Award for contributions to diversity and inclusion; the American Bar Association’s 2010 Spirit of Excellence Diversity Award for Microsoft’s commitment to diversity in the profession; and the Corporate Counsel Publication’s 2010 Best Legal Department Award for leadership, innovation and effective management by Microsoft’s Legal and Corporate Affairs department. Smith’s most recent publication, “Defending Those Who Need it Most,” appeared on the White House blog earlier this fall as part of the White House’s Champions of Change Initiative.
Under Cotton’s leadership, the NBC Universal Legal Department embraced a goal of having 50 percent of its lawyers participate in pro bono projects, and its recent public-oriented activities focus on a wide range of organizations, including Dress for Success, Street Law and Alliance for Children’s Rights.
In 2010 the NBCU West Coast legal team won the Los Angeles County Bar Corporate Law Department Pro Bono Award, and in December 2008 a member of the company’s West Coast team accepted the GE Pro Bono Award, which is given annually to a single lawyer in the worldwide GE legal organization in recognition of outstanding pro bono work.
In the 1970s, Cotton served as special counsel and managing attorney for the Concord office of New Hampshire Legal Assistance, where he secured representation for individuals without the means to pay for a lawyer.
From 1974 to 1976, he was a staff attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council in Palo Alto, California and from 1977 to 1981, Mr. Cotton worked in the Department of Health Education and Welfare. He was appointed deputy executive secretary under Secretary Joseph A. Califano and was named the executive secretary in 1978. In 1980 he became the special counsel to Deputy Secretary John Sawhill of the U.S. Department of Energy.
In the mid 1980s, while in private practice, he successfully litigated a major pro bono case in defense of funding for national support centers, which served as a resource to attorneys representing at-risk and underserved clients, including older Americans, Native Americans, immigrants and migrant workers.
In the 1990s, Cotton spent eight years as the chair of the board of the Primary Care Development Corporation, which provides financing and expert support for health centers in underserved communities in New York. He currently serves as the chair of the Dean’s Council at the NYU School of Public Service. Rick Cotton was named to his current position in August 2004. He supervises the NBC Universal Law Department, which provides legal advice to all NBC Universal business units for their ongoing operations and for new strategic plans and acquisitions. In addition, he oversees NBC Universal’s global regulatory and legislative agenda, including the company’s worldwide anti-piracy efforts.
Rick Cotton served as law clerk to Judge J. Skelly Wright of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from 1969 to 1970 and to Justice William J. Brennan Jr. of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1970 to 1971.
Michael Holston has long been a leader for pro bono assistance and a champion of equal justice. Since February 2007, Holston has served as executive vice president, general counsel and secretary at Hewlett-Packard Company (HP). In that role, he is responsible for the company’s worldwide legal affairs, including patents and licenses, litigation and regulatory matters. He also oversees the company’s compliance, government affairs, and privacy and ethics operations. Prior to joining HP, Holston was a partner in the litigation practice at Morgan Lewis, where, among other clients, he supported HP as external counsel on a variety of litigation and regulatory matters for more than 10 years. Prior to private practice, Holston served as a prosecutor in the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Holston’s pro bono efforts include his work with the American Bar Association, American Civil Liberties Union and Volunteers for the Indigent Program. He has represented dozens of clients through Criminal Justice Act panel court appointments over the past 15 years. Significant highlights include successful representation of a death row inmate in Alabama. Due to the efforts of Holston and his team, Bo Cochran was granted a new trial, acquitt ed and set free after 21 years in prison. Holston worked with the 2008 NLADA Exemplar Award honoree, Ken Frazier of Merck & Co., Inc., on this case. He also established the in-house pro bono program at HP.
Holston’s pro bono work began with representation of juveniles in criminal cases in state court in Chester County, Pennsylvania as a law student. He has served as a board member for several non-profi ts in the Philadelphia area including: Philadelphia Police Athletic League, Bryn Mawr Fire Company and Echoes Around the World. Holston received his law degree from Villanova University School of Law and holds a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Notre Dame.
Kenneth C. Frazier
Kenneth C. Frazier has long served as a champion of equal justice and as a leader for pro bono assistance, commitment to diversity and contributions to the legal aid community. As president of Global Human Health at Merck & Co., Inc., Frazier’s leadership and dedication to the legal aid and public defense community sets the standard for corporate America. His work in the equal justice arena has included representing death row inmate Bo Cochran, who spent 15 years on death row before being acquitted in 1996 and with his membership and action on the Ethics Resource Center, the Council of the American Law Institute and as a member and immediate past chair of the NLADA Corporate Advisory Committee. As chair, Frazier was instrumental in building support among the corporate community for NLADA’s programmatic initiatives.
In October 2004, the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) presented Frazier with its 2004 Excellence in Corporate Practice Award, which recognizes achievements in legal advocacy and counseling, service to the legal profession, public
service and civic and community contributions. In February 2003, the Pro Bono Institute, awarded Frazier its Laurie D. Zelon Award for extraordinary achievement by an individual in pro bono and public service. In May 2003, Frazier was the
recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award by Pennsylvania State University, the highest honor the University bestows on graduates whose professional achievements, personal qualities and community involvement exemplifies the goals of Penn State. And, in 2001, Frazier received the Alumni Fellow Award, the most prestigious award given by the Alumni Association to those recognized as leaders in their professional fields who are committed to sharing their knowledge and expertise with the University community.
Frazier joined Merck & Co., Inc. in 1992 as vice president, general counsel and secretary of the Astra Merck Group. Prior to Merck, he was a partner with the Philadelphia firm of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. He was elected vice president
of public affairs in 1994 and, in 1997, assumed the additional responsibilities of assistant general counsel. Frazier was promoted to vice president and deputy general counsel in January 1999. In December 1999, he assumed the position of
senior vice president and general counsel overseeing Merck's legal and public affairs functions and The Merck Company Foundation. In November 2006, he was promoted to executive vice president and general counsel. He was appointed
executive vice president and president of Merck’s Global Human Health in August 2007. Frazier is a member of the Council of the American Law Institute, the American Bar Association and the Council on Foreign Relations. He sits on
the Boards of Ithaka Harbors, Inc. (a non-profit information technology organization), Cornerstone Christian Academy and the Ethics Resource Center.
Roderick A. Palmore
Roderick A. Palmore is leading the way toward equality and justice in our communities and our places of business. As executive vice president, general counsel and secretary at Sara Lee Corporation, Palmore recognizes the critical importance of pro bono service for corporate counsel and understands that the legal and business interests of Sara Lee's clients are furthered when access to the legal system is available to everyone, regardless of economic status. Palmore’s distinguished service to the community and his commitment to equality and justice have been recognized by a number of organizations. He is the recipient of the 2006 ABA Spirit of Excellence Award, 2005 ACC Diversity Award, 2005 Equal Justice Works Scales of Justice Award, 2003 ACC Excellence in Corporate Practice Award and the 2002 MCCA Employers of Choice Award –Midwest region.
Named one of the fifty most influential general counsel in February 2006 by Inside Counsel, a premier business magazine for general counsel and corporate legal executives, Palmore is well known for his leadership in furthering diversity within the corporate legal world. In the spring of 2004, he initiated the “Call to Action,” a program focused on addressing the retention, promotion and direction of business to minority communities within the legal profession. Signatories to his Call to Action must not only promise to look at a firm's commitment to diversity when choosing outside counsel, but to "end or limit" their relationship with firms that do not demonstrate a meaningful commitment to being diverse. In just one month
after issuing the call, general counsel from 60 companies signed on. Today, 110 companies have signed onto the Call to Action.
Palmore is also a leader in his community. He is a member of the board of directors of Nuveen Investments and the Chicago Board Options Exchange and formerly served on the board of directors of the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, Boys and Girls Club of Chicago, and the Centers for New Horizons. His demonstrated commitment to access to justice includes service on the board of directors of the Chicago Bar Foundation, the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago and the Public Interest Law Initiative. Palmore also generously donates his time to other volunteer activities including serving on the Chicago Bar Association’s Board of Managers, membership on the board of directors of the Association of Corporate Counsel and the board of trustees of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and as a former chairman of the Public Arts Advisory Commission of Oak Park, IL.
William B. Lytton, Tyco International, and Mark J. MacDougall, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLC
As Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer for Tyco International Ltd., Bill Lytton is leading the charge for more active involvement on the part of corporate general counsel on behalf of the poor and disadvantaged. Beyond his personal commitment to making a difference for those in need he also understands the needs of the corporate sector. Through his position on the Board of Directors for The Pro Bono Partnership, Lytton actively advocated for the general
counsel community to commit resources by using the skills that in-house bar members use every day. He encourages corporations to get involved because “it is the right thing to do” and because it exemplifies good corporate citizenship. Additionally, it provides personal and professional enrichment for individual attorneys and allows for volunteer opportunities in assisting executives of non-profits with achieving their visions for helping devastated or challenged communities
Lytton has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of Tyco International Ltd. since 2002 and continues to provide exceptional leadership and personal conviction in challenging others to also make a difference in their communities.
Prior to Tyco International, Lytton served for six years as General Counsel at International Paper Company. While at the International Paper Company, Lytton served on the American Corporate Counsel Association (ACCA) and was introduced to The Pro Bono Partnership in the 1990s by its founder, Bob Healing, former Corporate Counsel of General Electric and Rick Hobish, the Partnership’s Executive Director. Lytton also served as a federal prosecutor for eight and a half years in Chicago and Philadelphia and as Deputy Special Counselor to President Ronald Reagan in 1987. From 1978 – 1983, Lytton served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, serving as Chief of the criminal division and later as First Assistant U.S. Attorney.
In addition to his work with the Pro Bono Partnership, Lytton is also a member of the Board of the Atlantic Legal Foundation and previously served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the American Corporate Counsel Association (ACCA) from 2001 – 2002, and as Chair of the Board of Supervisors of his Township.
Mark MacDougall is a lawyer who is making a difference in how the American criminal justice system treats indigent clients facing the death penalty. A former Department of Justice prosecutor and a long-time partner with the Washington, D.C. office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, MacDougall has brought the resources, experience and talent of one of the nation’s leading law firms to the defense table in capital cases and federal civil rights litigation.
In 1999, MacDougall began a professional collaboration with the renowned South Carolina defense lawyer, Bill Nettles, that has changed the face of trial practice in death penalty cases in that state and across the nation. Over the past seven years MacDougall has led teams of Akin Gump lawyers in collaboration with Nettles, John Mauldin, John Del Gado, James Morton and other South Carolina defense lawyers in capital cases and in federal civil rights litigation. These cases have exposed and challenged critical legal and evidentiary practices, including undercover police surveillance of civil rights organizations, the exclusion of prospective jurors based on previous political activities, the use of post-arrest psychiatric examinations by prosecutors when seeking the death penalty, and the exclusion of evidence of third party guilt by courts in capital cases. One case resulted in the unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision in May of this year - Bobby Holmes v. South Carolina - that reversed the South Carolina Supreme Court’s decision affirming Holmes’ death sentence, and set a new standard for the admissibility of third-party guilt evidence in the United States. To date, no client represented by MacDougall or Nettles has ever been executed.
MacDougall’s work has been previously recognized by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (the “NAACP”), with that organization’s 2004 national Foot Soldier Award, as well as by the York County, South Carolina Branch of the NAACP with its 2005 Outstanding Legal Service Award. MacDougall and his colleagues at Akin Gump continue to fight for due process and equal justice for low-income clients facing the death penalty in courtrooms across South Carolina and set an example for major law firms throughout the United States. MacDougall is a native of Boston, Massachusetts and lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife of 25 years – Anne Johannessen –and their three sons, Ian, Colin and Gordon MacDougall.