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.

2022 Woman Lawyer of the Year Nominations

The theme for the 2022 Woman Lawyer of the Year is “Getting Back to the Basics.” This bar year, we are focusing on addressing our earliest challenges, many of which remain the same. Since 1917, the WBA has been advocating for women’s proper place in the legal profession by fighting for equality, advancement, and social justice. As often stated, the WBA was crucial then, relevant now, and vital as we revive our careers and personal lives from a year of quarantine due to the international COVID-19 pandemic. The WBA is looking for nominees who embody the theme of tireless commitment to advancing women lawyers in the profession.

The nomination narrative should describe how the nominee has helped further the principles of the WBA mission by advancing and protecting other women lawyers, promoting their improvement, and encouraging friendship.

The deadline for nominations is 5:00 pm, Friday, September 30, 2021Click here to download the nomination form for the award. Nominations should be submitted to the Awards Committee via the WBA office. Information for submission is included on the nomination form. Contact the WBA office with any questions: 202-639-8880.

WBA Woman Lawyer of the Year Recipients

WBA Woman Lawyer of the Year Recipients

2021 Grace Speights
2020 Jeannie Rhee
2019 Laurie Robinson Haden
2018 Hon Anna Blackburne-Rigsby
2017 Ana C. Reyes
2016 LTG Flora Darpino
2015 Judith Scott
2014 Judy Smith
2013 Hon. Vanessa Ruiz
2012 Katia Garrett
2011 Sherri N. Blount and Debra L. Lee
2010 Nancy Duff Campbell
2009 Justice Elena Kagan
2008 Mary Kennard
2007 Kim M. Keenan
2006 Judith Miller
2005 Hon. Noel Anketell Kramer
2004 Cory M. Amron
2003 Hon. Annice M. Wagner
2002 Carolyn Lamm
2001 Hon. Delissa Ridgeway
2000 Eleanor Acheson
1999 Patricia D. Gurne
1998 Hon. Norma Holloway Johnson
1997 Judith Winston
1996 Marcia Greenberger
1995 Pauline Schneider
1994 Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
1993 Jamie S. Gorelick
1992 Elizabeth Dole
1992 Elaine Ruth Jones
1992 Hon. Patricia McGowan Wald
1992 Hon. Patricia Schroeder
1991 Sara-Ann Determan
1990 Hon. Judith Rogers
1989 Judith Lichtman
1988 Patricia Price Bailey
1987 Betty Southard Murphy
1986 Jean Ramsay Bower
1985 Marna S. Tucker
1984 Hon. Patricia McGowan Wald
1983 Hon. Gladys Kessler
1982 Florence King
1981 Brooksley Born
1980 Hon. Helen Nies
1980 Hon. Edna Parker
1979 Hon. Joyce Hens Green
1978 Jean Dwyer
1977 Suzanne V. Richards
1976 Ruth Hankins-Nesbitt
1975 Hon. Roslyn Bell
1974 A. Patricia Frohman
1973 Margaret A. Haywood
1973 Louise O’Neil
1971 Margaret H. Brass
1970 Catherine B. Kelly
1969 Burnita Shelton Matthews
1968 Una Rita Morris Quenstedt
1967 Elizabeth Bunten
1966 Hon. June L. Green
1965 Marguerite Rawalt

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

The Stars of the Bar reception is the WBA’s largest no-cost networking event and kicks off the WBA’s program year. It is typically attended by more than 300 attorneys, including judges, law students, and leaders in the DC legal community. Stars of the Bar offers a professional and friendly environment to network with other attorneys, including WBA members and WBA leadership. Each year at Stars of the Bar, the WBA honors and publicly salutes star-quality local attorneys. Attendees also have an opportunity to meet the WBA’s committee and forum co-chairs, who plan numerous substantive programs that address the professional and practical needs of our membership and of the greater DC legal community. Co-chairs and representatives from the WBA Foundation leadership, are present to answer your questions, alert attendees to upcoming events, and help members get more involved in the WBA and the WBA Foundation.

Each year the WBA honors star-quality lawyers at this event, which also kicks off our program year.

2020 Kristen Clarke, President, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
2020 Belva Ann Lockwood (posthumously)
2020 Congressman John Lewis (posthumously)
2019 Hon. Cornelia T.L. Pillard
2019 Hon. Neomi Rao
2019 Hon. Tanya S. Chutkan
2019 Hon. Dabney L. Friedrich
2019 Hon. Beryl A. Howell
2019 Hon. Ellen S. Huvelle
2019 Hon. Amy Berman Jackson
2019 Hon. Ketanji Brown Jackson
2019 Hon. Colleen Kollar-Kotelly
2019 Hon. Robin M. Meriweather
2019 Hon. Deborah A. Robinson
2018 Natalie Roisman
2018 Wendy Young
2018 Michael Lukens
2018 Paula Fitzgerald
2017 Stasia Kelly
2017 Therese D. Pritchard
2017 Angela B. Styles
2017 Cristina A. Carvalho
2016 Dean Daniel F. Attridge
2016 Dean Katherine S. Broderick
2016 Dean Danielle Holley-Walker
2016 Dean Blake D. Morant
2016 Dean Camille Nelson
2016 Dean William Treanor
2015 Karen Barker Marcou
2015 Jenny Brody
2015 Kristin A. Campbell
2015 Hon. Patricia Millett
2015 Monica G. Parham
2015 Marla Spindel
2015 Joanne W. Young
2014 Hon. Anna Blackburne-Rigsby
2014 Leslie T. Thornton
2014 Mary Reding Smith
2013 Hon. Diane M. Brenneman
2013 Paulette E. Chapman
2013 Lorelie S. Masters
2013 Holly E. Loiseau
2012 Hon. Mary A. Gooden Terrell
2012 Brigida Benitez
2012 Marjorie O’Connell
2012 Claudette M. Christian
2012 Lisa Horowitz
2011 Hon. Kaye Christian
2011 Hon. Stephanie Duncan-Peters
2011 Hon. Brook Hedge
2011 Hon. Noel Anketell Kramer
2011 Hon. Cheryl M. Long
2011 Hon. Inez Smith Reid
2011 Hon. Judith Retchin
2011 Hon. Vanessa Ruiz
2011 Hon. Odessa Vincent
2011 Hon. Joan Zeldon
2010 Beverly Burke
2010 Robert Stern
2010 Simone Wu
2009 Shantelle D. Wright
2009 Jenny Brody
2009 Karen Barker Marcou
2009 Marla Spindel
2009 Doran Flowers
2009 Tina Hsu
2009 Jason King
2008 Hon. Ruth C. Burg
2008 Geraldine Gennet
2008 June Jeffries
2007 Hon. Vanessa Ruiz
2007 Hon. Inez Smith Reid
2007 Hon. Noel Anketell Kramer
2007 Hon. Anna Blackburne-Rigsby
2007 Hon. Phyllis Thompson
2007 Hon. Annice M. Wagner
2006 Cythia Thomas Calvert
2006 Karen Lockwood
2006 Michael Nannes
2006 Karen Popp
2006 James Sandman
2005 Justice Sandra Day O’Connor
2004 J. Weilie Cheng
2004 Devarieste Curry
2004 June Dehart
2004 Andrea Bear Field
2004 Pamela Garvie
2004 Elizabeth Sarah Gere
2004 Tara Giunta
2004 Judith Harris
2004 Ann Kappler
2004 Mary E. Kennard
2004 Martha JP McQuade
2004 Laura Miller
2004 Rhonda Orin
2004 Leslie Owsley
2004 Lloyd Leva Plaine
2004 Mary Ellen Powers
2004 Virginia Patton Prugh
2004 Karlyn Stanley
2004 Susan Stewart
2004 Barbara Wall
2004 Cynthia Clarke Weber
2003 Cory M. Amron
2003 Kathleen Behan
2003 Katherine Shelley Broderick
2003 Hon. Ruth C. Burg
2003 Cheryl Burke
2003 Dara Corrigan
2003 Diana Daniels
2003 Jamie Gorelick
2003 Judith L. Lichtman
2003 M. Elizabeth Medaglia
2003 Jennifer Porter
2003 Michele A. Roberts
2003 Sandra H. Robinson
2003 Martha Purcell Rogers
2003 Hon. Patricia McGowan Wald
2003 Karen Hastie Williams
2003 Judith Richards Hope
2002 Brooksley Born
2002 Kim Gandy
2002 Geraldine Gennet
2002 Patricia D. Gurne
2002 Shirley Ann Higuchi
2002 Hon. Noel Anketell Kramer
2002 Carolyn Lamm
2002 Wilma Lewis
2002 Linda Madrid
2002 Judith Miller
2002 Betty Southard Murphy
2002 Hon. Delissa A. Ridgway
2002 Joan Strand
2002 Marna S. Tucker
2002 Hon. Annice M. Wagner

The Women’s Bar Association established the Mussey-Gillett Shining Star Award in 2007 to recognize WBA members who, through their vision and sustained and unflagging dedication to the WBA or to WBA committees and forums, have made extraordinary contributions that have advanced the mission of the association in the best tradition of leadership exemplified by the WBA’s Founders, Ellen Spencer Mussey and Emma Gillett.

Mussey-Gillett Shining Star Award Recipients

2020 Janine Herring
2019 Sherlyn Johanson
2018 Kate Mueting
2017 Kandis Gibson
2016 Charlotte Kuenen, CFP®
2015 Cathy Pagano
2014 Colleen M. Yushchak
2013 Lynne Milne
2008 Jamie Abrams
2008 Christina Ayiotis
2008 Jenny Kim
2007 Trish Alatorre-Ridings
2007 Susan Kimmel


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.