[Press and Public Relations] University of Leicester Graduate to Receive 2002 ABA Spirit of Excellence Award

February 2002

No 27

University of Leicester graduate Peter Herbert, barrister of law in the London-based Chambers of Michael Mansfield, Q.C., will receive a 2002 Spirit of Excellence Award from the American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession. The award will be presented February 2 at a luncheon at the Philadelphia Marriott during the ABA Midyear Meeting.

The Spirit of Excellence Awards are presented annually to honour minority lawyers who have demonstrated outstanding achievement, despite facing societal barriers to success, and other lawyers who have helped to create opportunities for minority advancement in the profession.

"Peter Herbert is renowned as one of the United Kingdom's foremost advocates for human rights and racial justice," said Charisse R Lillie, chair of the ABA commission. "He is widely hailed as the driving force in placing race issues on the agendas of professional organizations such as the Bar Council and the Law Society and key governmental institutions such as the Crown Prosecution Service and the Lord Chancellor's Department. Throughout his career, he has been well known for his support of families and victims of race-based crimes."

After graduating with honours from the University of Leicester in 1982, Herbert represented clients in criminal and family cases. Since the early 1980s, his career has focused on legal issues involving children, criminal law and employment discrimination.

Herbert has chaired or served on numerous professional committees addressing race relations in the British legal system. He has been executive chair of the Society of Black Lawyers since 1984, and is a former member of the Bar Race Relations Committee and the Judicial Studies Board Ethnic Minorities Committee.  He received the 1998 Human Rights Award from the National Bar Association, a predominantly African-American bar association in the United States.

While balancing his case responsibilities and involvement in committees, Herbert also has performed a wide-range of pro-bono legal services and served as a mentor to law students. He demonstrated a commitment to helping the causes of black and asian students during the formal investigative inquiry into equal opportunities at the Inns of Court School of Law in 1990.  He served as deputy chair of Metropolitan Policy Authority in 2000.

The American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession is a catalyst to change the legal profession to reflect the society it serves. It helps racially and ethnically diverse lawyers advance their careers and standing in the profession. Its leadership, programs and information help the profession understand and eliminate racism, bigotry and discrimination. The commission works to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession, and thus enrich it.

The American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership association in the world.  With more than 400,000 members, the ABA provides law school accreditation, continuing legal education, information about the law, programmes to assist lawyers and judges in their work, and initiatives to improve the legal system for the public.

NOTE TO NEWSDESK: More information from the American Bar Association: Liz Stromquist 312/988-6137 Email: stromque@staff.abanet.org

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Information supplied by: Barbara Whiteman
Last updated: 4 February 2002 16:30
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