Feerick Center for Social Justice Honors O’Melveny Chair Bradley J. Butwin and the Firm with Spirit of Service Award
November 3, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW YORK—November 3, 2022—The Feerick Center for Social Justice at Fordham Law School recently honored O’Melveny chair Bradley J. Butwin and the firm with its prestigious Spirit of Service Award.
Named for former Fordham Law School Dean John D. Feerick, the Feerick Center promotes the rights of marginalized New Yorkers and individuals seeking humanitarian relief, while also providing Fordham Law students an opportunity to work on legal issues critical to the poor and underrepresented. Butwin was presented with the award at the Feerick Center’s 2022 Awards and Benefit Reception, “Meeting the Moment.” The event raised funds to support the Feerick Center’s impactful work in the community and honored individuals and organizations living the school’s motto, “In the service of others.”
“I am deeply humbled and honored to receive this award, and I do so on behalf of O’Melveny and everything our wonderful firm stands for, including its enduring commitment to fighting for equal justice—which has always been an innate part of who we are,” Butwin said. “I also want to thank Fordham and Dean Feerick for creating an award that celebrates the Spirit of Service and the impact we can all have when we carry that spirit with us. Fordham and O’Melveny share the same philosophy about the role of lawyers in our society—that we are obligated to try to make this a fairer, more just world for everyone.”
In honoring Butwin and the firm, the Center highlighted their role as co-founders of the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance, an unprecedented and historic effort to mobilize and leverage law firm resources to bring about systemic change and racial equity in the law.
“Brad and his firm have been trailblazers in the areas of pro bono, social justice, and especially racial justice,” said Dean Feerick. “Through Brad’s leadership and the firm’s commitment, the legal profession has an extraordinary model for promoting diversity—and, most importantly, equity and inclusion—to ensure lasting and sustainable change in this critically important area. In short, Brad has been a singular leader, a visionary change-maker, an extraordinary ambassador of the law school’s values and principles, and a role model for us all.”
Dean Feerick also hearkened back to other role models in O’Melveny’s history, calling former chair Warren Christopher “one of the finest lawyers and public servants I have known,” and noting that both Christopher and O’Melveny senior partner William T. Coleman, Jr. were recipients of Fordham’s esteemed Louis Stein Prize, awarded to members of the legal profession whose distinguished careers reflect a profound commitment to the public good. In addition to their service as U.S. Secretary of State and U.S. Secretary of Transportation, respectively, Christopher and Coleman each made historic social justice contributions: among others, Christopher headed the namesake Commission that pursued police accountability in the aftermath of the videotaped Rodney King beating, and Coleman was the co-author of the winning brief in Brown v. Board of Education, which ended racial segregation in schools.
“The past few years have really challenged us to reaffirm our commitments, and stand up for a more just society,” Butwin remarked. “In co-founding the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance, O’Melveny sought to take bold action, to collaborate to achieve much more than our individual firms could accomplish alone, and to meet the moment in a way that has the potential to produce major change.”
Butwin also reflected on the need for continued action across a range of issues.
“From working to ensure safe and honest elections and advocating for displaced people in Ukraine and Afghanistan to assisting victims of hate crimes and fighting for those who suddenly see their rights under attack, O’Melveny lawyers are devoting tens of thousands of pro bono hours on these and other critical causes,” he said.
Butwin, who graduated from Fordham University School of Law in 1985, maintains strong ties to the school, currently serving as a member of the Dean’s Planning Council and recently serving as Chair of the school’s Financial Aid Campaign. In addition, three of his four children attended Fordham Law School. In recognition of his outstanding achievements in the law and in public service, the Fordham Law Alumni Association awarded Butwin its Medal of Achievement, the highest honor it bestows, and the Fordham Law Review Alumni Association awarded Brad its Leonard F. Manning Achievement Award.
In addition to cofounding the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance and serving on its Board of Advisors, Butwin is an active member of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, which promotes a more open and diverse legal profession. He also serves on the boards of Only Make Believe, a nonprofit that creates and performs interactive theater for children in hospitals and care facilities, and the Legal Aid Society, the oldest and largest provider of legal aid in the United States. In an effort to bring affordable legal representation to underserved communities, Butwin cofounded the Court Square Law Project, an innovative public-private collaboration that paired recent law school graduates with clients of modest means.
For his dedication to justice, American Jewish Committee honored Butwin with its Judge Learned Hand Award in 2021. He was also presented with the New York City Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award for his role in freeing a wrongly convicted man from Georgia’s death row.
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