February 14, 2011Leah Ward Sears
, a retired Georgia Supreme Court Justice who now leads Schiff Hardin LLP’s Appellate
team, has been honored with the Spirit of Excellence Award from the American Bar Association’s Commission of Racial and Ethnic Diversity.
The Spirit of Excellence Award celebrates the efforts and accomplishments of those who have made a difference in promoting racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession. Award recipients are individuals who excel in their professional settings, personify excellence, and who have worked tirelessly through the years to demonstrate a commitment to diversity in the legal profession.
Justice Sears was the first African-American woman to be elected to the Superior Court of Fulton County, Ga. She also was the first woman and youngest person to be appointed to the Georgia Supreme Court, as well as the first woman to retain her seat on the state’s Supreme Court by winning a contested statewide election in Georgia.
Justice Sears accepted the Spirit of Excellence award on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011, at a luncheon held specifically to recognize award recipients during the ABA’s Midyear Meeting in Atlanta. This year marks the sixteenth anniversary of the Spirit of Excellence Award.