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Stewart Dinner Celebrates Jim Sandman, Jess Rosenbaum, and Bill Garber

What a night! Thank you to all our guests who joined us for the 17th Annual Justice Potter Stewart Awards Dinner on Thursday, May 9.

Our generous sponsors and guests contributed more than $183,000 to CCE’s mission through this event. This fundraiser provides a significant portion of CCE’s annual support so that we may lead our programs improving justice in Washington, DC. This was one of CCE’s most successful years for our Dinner fundraising. Thank you to all who made this possible!

Our honorees, Jim Sandman, Jess Rosenbaum, and Bill Garber were celebrated with heartfelt presentations, inspirational acceptance speeches, and standing ovations.

The evening began with a cocktail hour in the Mexican Garden at the Organization of American States. Special guests included Chief Judge Royce Lamberth and his successor at the US District Court for DC Judge Richard Roberts, DC Attorney General Irvin Nathan, Pepco CEO Joe Rigby, and numerous judges from the local and federal courts. Also joining the celebration were several former Stewart awardees, Jake Stein (1998), E. Barrett Prettyman (2000), Sam Harahan (2002), Ann Keep from Visitors’ Services Center (2005), Maureen Thornton Syracuse (2008), Earl Silbert (2009), Judge Rainey Brandt (2010), Peter Edelman (2011), and Jack Keeney and Jim Lyons (2012).

Guests ascended the grand staircases and gathered in the ballroom for dinner and the awards ceremony. In his opening welcome, CCE chair Jay Brozost led a toast to Mrs. Andy Stewart, who for many years graciously lent her late husband’s prestigious name to this annual event. Mrs. Stewart passed away in March and Jay talked about how the Council was indebted to her for permission to create this dinner and for her longstanding and spirited service to the organization.

The awards program began as dessert was served. Having known one another for nearly their entire professional lives, legendary Jake Stein presented the first award to Bill Garber, a defense attorney in private practice for more than 60 years, deeply respected by colleagues and clients alike. Jake astutely observed that tomorrow, Bill would be in his office, and surely his phone would ring. The worried person on the line would need a lawyer. Bill would get a few facts and then suggest to the troubled person to come right over to his office.

In accepting the award, Bill referred to Jake and himself as the last survivors of the “Fifth Street Bar Association,” and listed many judges in front of whom he has been honored to practice. Bill Garber brought the crowd to its feet when he declared that tomorrow is a work day, and then expressed his humble and sincere thanks to those who supported his nomination for this award and wrote such fine and glowing letters. “To have such friends and colleagues is a treasure of a lifetime.”

The second award was presented to Jess Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the DC Access to Justice Commission and a strong voice in the local legal services community, by her mentor and current Commission Chair Peter Edelman, law professor at Georgetown University. In his introductory remarks, Professor Edelman referred to Jess as our beloved, brilliant, stupendous, deeply caring, totally committed, and fabulous dear friend. Jess accepted the honor on behalf of the legal services and public interest communities, referring to them as the ones who are doing the hardest of the hard, hard work. She then explained that she does this work because of her parents. Her father and many other family members were in attendance and there were very few dry eyes by the time she finished thanking him for the values he instilled in her.

The final award to Jim Sandman, former Arnold & Porter partner and DC Bar President who served as counsel to the DC Public Schools before taking on his current role as President of the Legal Services Corporation, was presented by DC Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson who spoke from the bottom of her heart about how closely the two had worked together to improve education in the District of Columbia.

Jim Sandman’s remarks focused on his commitment to public service, albeit later in his career, with his goal being to close the justice gap in DC between the legal needs of people who cannot afford a lawyer and the recourses available to them. Jim said he thought this was possible because we have so many lawyers and a pro bono and public service culture second to none. He concluded his acceptance of the award, like Jess and Bill, with a tribute to his personal heroes – his family, referring to them as his life’s greatest blessing. And for the third time, the entire audience rose to its feet to congratulate the honorees with lengthy standing ovations.

The Council for Court Excellence is honored to recognize these heroes of justice with the Justice Potter Stewart Award.

We thank our event sponsors:

2013 Justice Potter Stewart Award Sponsors

President's Circle:

Arent Fox LLP
Arnold & Porter LLP
Venable LLP

Hogan Lovells US LLP

Alvarez & Marsal, L.L.P.
Bryan Cave LLP
DLA Piper LLP (US)
Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC
Hollingsworth LLP
Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Lockheed Martin Corporation
McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP
Microsoft Inc.
Patton Boggs LLP
PNC Bank, NA and Jackson & Campbell, P.C.
The Family of Jessica Rosenbaum
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Zuckerman Spaeder LLP

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Baker Botts LLP
Carr Maloney P.C.
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Goodwin Procter LLP
Loeb & Loeb LLP
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
Regan, Zambri & Long, PLLC
The Washington Post
Williams & Connolly LLP
Ashcraft & Gerel, LLP
Brigid Benitez
Paulette E. Chapman
Prof. Sherman Cohn
Hon. Anthony Epstein
Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidell LLP
Leslye Givarz
Michael D. Hays
Ellen M. Jakovic
K & L Gates LLP
June B. Kress
Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, LLP
Mrs. Timothy May
Patrick McGlone
Eugene & Agnes E. Meyer Foundation
Dwight D. Murray
Jack H. Olender & Associates
Ruth and Stephen Pollak
Reed Smith LLP (Double Sponsorship)
Hon. Vanessa Ruiz
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP


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