NLADA to Honor Ford General Counsel Bradley Gayton With 2018 Exemplar Award

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Release Date: 
Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Contact: Sharon Singh, [email protected]; @NLADA


NLADA To Honor Ford General Counsel Bradley Gayton With 2018 Exemplar Award

Award Will be Presented at Annual Gala in Washington, DC

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) The National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) will present Bradley Gayton, Group Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel at Ford Motor Company, with its prestigious 2018 Exemplar Award. This award recognizes a corporate leader for outstanding commitment to advancing equal justice for low-income citizens. Gayton will be honored at the organization’s annual Exemplar Dinner on Wednesday, June 13, at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C.

“Bradley’s work is helping to ensure that everyone, regardless of economic resources receive legal representation,” said Jo-Ann Wallace, NLADA president & CEO. “Bradley is a passionate voice for civil legal aid. His work has provided legal aid access to many low-income people in the U.S. and across the globe who would not be able to access such assistance otherwise.”

Reflecting on Ford Motor Company’s legacy as founder of NLADA’s Corporate Advisory Committee twenty-five years ago, Gayton said he was honored to receive this award on behalf of the men and women on Ford’s global legal team.

“We believe it is a tremendous privilege to practice law and that lawyers have an obligation to use our talents to help improve access to justice,” said Gayton. “I’m proud that NLADA and Ford’s storied pro bono program has not only endured, but also become a deep seated part of our culture.  We have expanded the program internationally and every lawyer at Ford has committed to provide 30 hours of pro bono work annually.” 

Gayton’s service has not only impacted the national efforts, but has greatly enhanced the work of equal justice work in Michigan.

"What is remarkable about Bradley is that his support for legal services operates on both a system and an individual level,” said Bob Gillett, co-executive director of the Michigan Advocacy Program. “For more than a decade, I have watched Bradley personally handle immigration rights pro bono cases with great compassion and skill. In one case, Bradley helped a 12 year-old crime victim obtain a visa to legally stay in the United States. She has now become a U.S. citizen, completed her undergraduate degree and will begin medical school this year."

“Bradley Gayton is a proud and vocal advocate for legal services,” said Janet Welch, executive director at the State Bar of Michigan. “He regularly participates in the State Bar of Michigan's ABA Day trip. I am delighted that NLADA is recognizing Bradley and Ford Motor Company’s impact on equal justice with the 2018 Exemplar Award.” 

“One of the most valuable qualities Bradley Gayton has demonstrated over the years is his leadership on access to justice issues on behalf of the legal aid community,” said William R. Knight, Jr., executive director of Lakeshore Legal Aid. “Through both his encouragement and example, he has instilled a culture of pro bono enthusiasm throughout Ford Motor Company’s legal department. Bradley and the Ford legal team are constantly lending a hand to help our clients and our cause.”

Gayton joins a distinguished list of former honorees, including Rick Cotton, NBC Universal (formerly); Michael Holston, Hewlett-Packard (formerly); Bruce Kuhlik, Merck & Co., Inc. (formerly); Louise Pentland, PayPal Holdings, Inc.; Teri Plummer McClure, UPS; John F. Schultz, Hewlett-Packard Company (formerly); Brad Smith, Microsoft; and Laura Stein, The Clorox Company.

More than 500 advocates for equal justice, including public interest lawyers, private attorneys and general counsel come together at this annual spring event to pay tribute to individuals and law firms making a critical impact on the lives of innumerable disadvantaged Americans.

“NLADA is grateful to have leaders like Bradley working alongside us to expand access to counsel for every person regardless of circumstances,” said Wallace.

For more information on Bradley Gayton, NLADA or the 2018 Exemplar Dinner, please visit



The National Legal Aid & Defender Association, founded in 1911, is America's oldest and largest nonprofit association devoted to promoting excellence in the delivery of civil legal services to those who cannot afford counsel. NLADA has pioneered equal access to justice at the national, state and local levels through the creation of public defender systems and other important institutions from The Sentencing Project to the Legal Services Corporation.