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Thurgood Marshal Award – Call for Nominations

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The Federal Bar Council seeks nominations for its seventh annual Thurgood Marshall Pro Bono Award. This award recognizes and celebrates lawyers based in the Second Circuit who have demonstrated an exemplary commitment to pro bono legal services, and who have provided or facilitated the provision of pro bono services in all areas.

Award Criteria:

The Federal Bar Council wishes to recognize lawyers who have made an extraordinary contribution through their personal involvement in pro bono legal service. The Council is especially interested in recognizing both those who, while not new to the law, are still in the first decades of their careers; as well as more experienced and retired attorneys. Accordingly, the Council will accept nominations in two categories:

  1. Rising Star (an attorney who has at least five, but no more than ten, years of experience); and
  2. Veteran (an attorney who has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to pro bono service).

Pro bono service in all venues will be considered, but nominees must have a practice based in the Second Circuit. Extraordinary contributions may be made in many ways, including:

  • Persistent dedication to meeting the needs of a vulnerable or underserved community;
  • Litigating a case with broad impact on behalf of a vulnerable or underserved community;
  • Pioneering a new mode of pro bono service; or
  • Inspiring and mentoring lawyers to provide pro bono service

Nomination Process:

Nominations may be submitted by anyone, including a firm, a public interest or legal services organization, a member of the judiciary, or the nominee. The nomination must be submitted by filling out and returning the PDF nomination form as a single email with attachments, consisting of:

  1. A nomination form with contact information for the nominator and the nominee.
  2. A nominating statement of no more than two pages that explains how the nominee meets the award criteria.
  3. A maximum of three letters supporting the nomination.

While no statistical information is required, the nominating statement and supporting letters may provide, as relevant to the particular nominee’s accomplishments, information such as the number and nature of recent pro bono matters, legal or practical challenges posed by particular matters, how the nominee has engaged others in pro bono work, the nominee’s annual pro bono hours, etc.


The awardee will receive a one-year membership in the Federal Bar Council and on the Public Service Committee, public recognition at the Federal Bar Council Thanksgiving Luncheon, and recognition in the Federal Bar Council Quarterly.

The Council welcomes renewed nominations.


Please submit nominations by email to

All nominations must be received by Friday, October 22, 2021.

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