Awards & Recognition

WBA recognizes excellence in the legal profession with the following awards:

Woman Lawyer of the Year Award

The Woman Lawyer of the Year Award is given annually by the WBA at its Annual Awards dinner, held in May. The award recognizes a woman for her exceptional achievements in the legal profession and/or for her extraordinary contributions to the advancement of women in the profession.

The theme for the 2020 Woman Lawyer of the Year is “Building Community, Building Power.” This theme recognizes that if we put our energies into making change collectively, with determination and creativity, we will get there. The WBA is looking for nominees who embody the theme of tireless commitment to advancing women lawyers in the profession and continuously striving toward a more egalitarian future. Nominations are due September 20, 2019. Click here for the nomination form.

Janet Reno Torchbearer Award

The Janet Reno Torchbearer Award recognizes exceptional women lawyers, their achievements, and the trails they have blazed for those women who have followed. The Torchbearer Award is not expected to be given annually. It is reserved for those rare occasions when the accomplishments of an individual are so extraordinary that they should be recognized. Recipients are recognized by the WBA at its Annual Awards dinner, held in May.

Recipients of the Janet Reno Torchbearer Award

2016   Honorable Loretta E. Lynch
2012   Sheila Bair
2011   Dovey Johnson Roundtree
2008   Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
2007   Judith Areen
2001   Honorable Wilma Lewis
1998   Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton
1997   Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (click here for C-SPAN’s coverage of Justice Ginsburg presenting the award to Justice O’Connor)
1996   Honorable Janet Reno

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Maintaining the honor and integrity of the profession; promoting the administration of justice; advancing and protecting the interests of women lawyers; promoting their mutual improvement; and encouraging a spirit of friendship.