The John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law at Stanford Law School has awarded the National Public Service Award to Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. for his lifetime of public service and the Miles L. Rubin Public Interest Award to Sharon Terman, JD ’04, for her pioneering work in enforcing family leave laws. Both recipients were honored at a ceremony on the Stanford campus.
The National Public Service Award is designated for an attorney whose public service work has had broad, national impact and the Miles L. Rubin Public Interest Award recognizes an alumnus/a whose outstanding work has advanced justice and social change in the lives of vulnerable populations on a community, national, or international level. In particular, the Rubin Award is intended to highlight concrete and sustainable approaches and solutions to a societal problem.
National Public Service Award Recipient Vernon E. Jordan
“Vernon Jordan’s career reflects Stanford Law’s fundamental and underlying values – that public service must be a central part of any lawyer’s life,” said Larry Kramer, Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean. “He is a role model for our students as someone who has integrated a powerful, lifetime commitment to equality into a remarkably diverse legal career.”
Over the course of his career, Mr. Jordan has been a leader in the civil rights movement, starting after graduating from law school when he worked to empower African Americans in the South via community organizing and voter registration drives, including serving on the legal team that desegregated the University of Georgia. He later led several major organizations and successfully fundraised to finance black colleges, job training programs, early childhood education, and other causes dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty.
Mr. Jordan has served as president and chief executive officer of the National Urban League, Inc.; executive director of the United Negro College Fund, Inc.; director of the Voter Education Project of the Southern Regional Council; attorney-consultant at the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity; assistant to the executive director of the Southern Regional Council; Georgia field director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; and as an attorney in private practice in Arkansas and Georgia. He also recently served as a member of the Iraq Study Group, of the United States Institute of Peace.
Mr. Jordan’s presidential appointments include: the President’s Advisory Committee for the Points of Light Initiative Foundation; the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on South Africa; the Advisory Council on Social Security; and the Presidential Clemency Board.
Vernon Jordan is currently a partner at the investment firm of Lazard Frere & Company in New York and serves as Senior Managing Director of Lazard Group LLC. He is also Of Counsel/Senior Counsel at Akin Gump.
Miles L. Rubin Public Interest Award Recipient Sharon Terman, JD ’04
As the 2011 Miles L. Rubin Public Interest Award recipient, Sharon Terman is being recognized for her pioneering work in enforcing family leave laws, both the Federal Family Medical Leave Act and California’s own family leave law, which significantly expands workers’ rights beyond the federal statute. In her current role as senior staff attorney and director of the Work and Family Project at the Legal Aid Society–Employment Law Center of San Francisco, Ms. Terman assists poor women, many of whom are immigrants and often undocumented, who face illegal treatment at work. She tackles pregnancy-related discrimination, violations of family and medical leave laws, domestic violence in the workplace, and harassment. Terman earned her JD from Stanford Law School in 2004.
“This year’s awards are particularly meaningful at a time when lawyers and law schools are facing challenges and questions about our profession and goals,” said Diane T. Chin, associate dean for public service and public interest law and lecturer in law who oversees the John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law. “Both of our awardees exemplify how public service and pro bono make legal careers meaningful and also fulfill our highest responsibilities to do justice.”
The awards were established in 2006 by the Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law as part of its mission to raise awareness about the importance of public service. The awards are given annually to individuals who exemplify a commitment to public service, provide models of practice that are interesting and innovative, and who make a contribution to the overall public interest legal field. The recipients were chosen by a committee that included William Neukom ’67, past president of the American Bar Association; Todd Rubin, a member of the Rubin family who helped establish the Miles L. Rubin Public Interest Award; Larry Kramer, Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean; and Chin.
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