On Friday, August 9, 2013, Sharon Sayles Belton, vice president of Community Relations and Government Affairs at Thomson Reuters, presented the American Bar Association’s annual TIPs Liberty Achievement Award to Steven Shapiro, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The award ceremony and reception, held at the law offices of Sedgwick LLP in San Francisco, Calif., was attended by approximately 200 people.

The TIPS Liberty Achievement Award honors lawyers and judges who take a leadership role by demonstrating, through choices made in their careers and work done in private- and/or public-sector positions, that they have actively promoted diversity in the legal profession.

Sharon Sayles Belton

Sharon Sayles Belton presenting the ABA TIPs Liberty Achievement Award to Steve Shapiro

“It is with the deepest respect and admiration that I congratulate this year’s Liberty Achievement Award honoree, Steven Shapiro,” said Sayles Belton. “Seeking justice and finding common ground are important vehicles for change. Mr. Shapiro exemplifies the power of reaching out and reaching forward to build new and important partnerships for the benefit of the legal system and society.”

Shapiro has been the ACLU’s legal director since 1993 and served as associate legal director from 1987 to 1993. He directs a staff of about 90 full-time lawyers who maintain a large and active docket of civil liberties cases around the country. He is also an adjunct professor of constitutional law at Columbia Law School and a frequent speaker and writer on civil liberties issues.

Shapiro has appeared as counsel or co-counsel on more than 200 ACLU briefs submitted to the United States Supreme Court. Last year, the 2012 Supreme Court Term’s docket was highlighted by a series of landmark cases involving gay and lesbian rights and racial equality. In total, the ACLU was counsel or co-counsel in six Supreme Court cases in the 2012 term.

From landmark cases argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, such as Hollingsworth v. Perry, which restored legal same sex marriage in California, and Windsor v. United States, which struck down DOMA, to lower court cases involving an individual’s civil rights, Shapiro has remained firm in his belief in the ideal of justice and his untiring efforts to help America achieve its ideal of liberty and justice for all.

To listen to a podcast interview with Sharon Sayles Belton and Steven Shapiro, click here.

Sharon Sayles Belton