The Fordham University School of Law awarded the 2004 Fordham-Stein Prize to the Hon. Patricia M. Wald, former chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, during a gala reception at The Pierre in New York City on Oct. 21.
The Fordham-Stein Prize honors individuals whose work exemplifies outstanding standards of professional conduct, promotes the advancement of justice, and brings credit to the profession by emphasizing in the public mind the contributions of lawyers to our society and to our democratic system of government.
Wald was the first woman to clerk on the Second Circuit, and later became the first woman at the firm of Arnold Fortas & Porter in Washington, D.C. She joined the first wave of legal service litigators with Washington D.C.’s Neighborhood Legal Services Program. She served in the Carter administration as Assistant Attorney General before being appointed as the first woman to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, where she served as chief judge from 1986 until 1991.
Since her retirement from the Court of Appeals in 1999, Wald has served in the international arena, first as the U.S. representative to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and currently as a member of the Iraq Intelligence Commission.
“Judge Wald has led an exemplary career as a consummate legal professional and a reflection of the democratic ideal,” said William M. Treanor, J.D., dean of Fordham Law School. “She superbly continues the great traditions of this prize.”
Past winners of the Stein Prize include six members of the United States Supreme Court, three lawyers who have served as Secretary of State, and, in the past two years, Chief Judge Judith Kaye of the New York Court of Appeals and former Fordham Law School Dean John Feerick.
“I am thrilled to be added to the towering list of earlier recipients of the Fordham-Stein Prize,” said Wald after accepting the award. “I am especially grateful to have received this honor in the twilight of my career, since, if I qualify as worthy at all, it is for the long pursuit of an ephemeral goal called justice, rather than any singular dazzling achievement.”