World Justice Project founder William Neukom awarded American Bar Association's ABA Medal

The ABA Medal, the American Bar Association’s highest honor, will be awarded to William H. Neukom, an international champion for justice who has devoted his life and career to public service, access to justice and advancing the rule of law.

Neukom will receive the ABA Medal during the General Assembly on Wednesday, July 29 during the ABA’s virtual Annual Meeting. The ABA Medal recognizes exceptionally distinguished service by a lawyer or lawyers to a cause of American jurisprudence.

A former president of the American Bar Association, Neukom is the founder and chief executive officer of the World Justice Project (WJP), an organization devoted to promoting the rule of law throughout the world.

He was the lead lawyer for Microsoft Corp. for nearly 25 years, managing its legal, government affairs and philanthropic activities. A retired partner in the Seattle office of the international law firm K&L Gates, he is a lecturer at Stanford Law School, where he teaches a seminar on the rule of law.

“Bill Neukom’s service to the legal profession and the public tell only part of his journey as a lawyer-statesperson,” ABA President Judy Perry Martinez said. “As founder of the World Justice Project, Bill has transformed how society thinks about, measures, and reports on the rule of law throughout the world. Yet some of his most valuable contributions came early in his career when he changed the lives of individuals he came to know through his work as their lawyer, when they needed him most.”

Through Neukom’s leadership, the WJP has become the preeminent global organization for measuring the rule of law through original research and data. It promotes justice, opportunity and peace wherever people are denied basic human rights to safety, freedom and justice because the rule of law in their land is weak or nonexistent.

While president in 2007-08, he established the Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI).

He has also chaired the ABA Young Lawyers Division, the Fund for Justice and Education and the Task Force on Goal VIII, which is the ABA’s commitment to eliminating bias and enhancing diversity.

He served as secretary on the ABA Board of Governors and as Washington State Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates. He currently serves as a special adviser to the ABA Center on Innovation.

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