I had the honor of presenting the American Bar Association’s Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) Liberty Achievement Award yesterday.

Thomson Reuters has sponsored the TIPS Liberty Achievement Award to recognize attorneys and judges who take leadership roles in promoting diversity in the profession of law since its inception in 2008. The award highlights individuals who prioritize diversity through the choices they make in their careers and the work they do each day. It’s a meaningful way to acknowledge TIPS’ important work on behalf of diversity in the law and to celebrate the progress being made.

On Monday, many of us observed Law Day. The ABA’s Law Day theme was “Cornerstones of Democracy: Civics, Civility, and Collaboration.” It comes at a time when we’re seeing confidence in state and federal courts and the justice system declining.

Many lawyers and legal professionals used Law Day as an opportunity for conversations around how we can rebuild trust in our institutions and collaborate to address the challenges facing our nation. And those challenges are many.

Racial injustice and inequalities persist. Our nation continues to grapple with racial hate crimes, white nationalism, and voter suppression. Clearly, there’s much work to be done.

TIPS’ 2023 Liberty Achievement Award honoree exemplifies what our country needs in these trying times: someone who doesn’t shy away from tough conversations.

I was so pleased to present the award to Ellie Jurado-Nieves, vice president and assistant general counsel of Strategic Public Policy Initiatives at The Guardian Life Insurance Company.

Ms. Jurado-Nieves began her career as a young lawyer in New York City politics. She was often the youngest, and many times the only, woman at the table. And as she found her own voice, she helped more women and people of color find theirs.

She eventually transitioned to the private sector, where she has continually demonstrated leadership in diversity and inclusion. She made a tremendous impact in these areas not only in the legal profession and the insurance industry, but throughout New York City.

At Guardian, Ms. Jurado-Nieves is responsible for staying ahead of emerging public policy trends that will define the insurance industry of the future. In her previous role as vice president and assistant general counsel of Regulatory and Legislative Affairs, she directed the company’s legislative and regulatory agenda in several states to ensure consistent lobbying strategy for their product lines.

Throughout her career, Ms. Jurado-Nieves has championed diversity and inclusion efforts. She was a founding member of Guardian’s inaugural Diversity Council. She also established and served as chair of Guardian’s first employee resource group, the Women’s Leadership Network, which has grown to more than 400 members with chapters across the United States and India.

In addition, she is the immediate past Diversity Strategy Partner for Guardian’s Law, Compliance and Government Affairs Department. She’s also a former president of the New York Puerto Rican Bar Association, where she served on the Hispanic National Bar Association’s Latina Commission. She has facilitated workshops on executive presence during the HNBA’s Latina Leadership Academy for several years.

She also served as the Latina Commissioner for the HNBA, identifying and studying barriers to the professional development and advancement of Latina lawyers. And getting back to her roots in politics, Ms. Jurado-Nieves serves as an advisor for Leaders of Color, providing strategic advice to the organization’s New York chapter to increase its reach to Black and Latino leaders throughout the state and prepare them to run for office.

Prioritizing the responsibilities of leadership and professional development, with an emphasis on diversity, has been the hallmark of Ms. Jurado-Nieves’ distinguished career. As a Liberty Achievement Award recipient, she joins a prestigious group of highly accomplished leaders who also serve as diversity champions in the legal profession.

Previous Liberty Achievement Award winners include Judge Pamila J. Brown (2022), Judge Bernice B. Donald (2021 for a Lifetime Liberty Achievement Award), Judge Lourdes Ventura (2019), Professor Kathleen Dillon Narko (2018), and Judge Lorna G. Schofield (2017). Thomson Reuters is honored to recognize all recipients’ remarkable achievements and commitment to diversity and inclusion.

This guest post was authored by Laura Clayton McDonnell, president, Corporates, Thomson Reuters.

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