Hortense Ward Courageous Leader Award

The Center for Women in Law, through the Hortense Ward Courageous Leader Award, seeks to recognize on a biennial basis one outstanding woman lawyer who exemplifies Ward’s tenacity, courage, and commitment in her efforts to achieve gender parity in positions of leadership, influence, and responsibility in the legal profession as set out in the Austin Manifesto. The next recipient will be honored at the CWIL’s Award Luncheon on April 17, 2020.

2018 Hortense Ward Courageous Leader Awardee

Roberta Liebenberg

The Center for Women in Law is pleased to honor Bobbi Liebenberg with the Hortense Ward Courageous Leader Award.  The Award honors the legacy and achievements of the Honorable Hortense Sparks Ward (1872-1944), an accomplished lawyer, suffragist, and champion of women’s rights in Texas in the early 1900s.

Roberta Liebenberg, a senior partner at Fine, Kaplan and Black, concentrates her practice on class actions, antitrust, complex commercial litigation and criminal antitrust defense. She has defended major corporations in antitrust class actions, and has also been appointed as Lead Counsel by a number of courts to represent plaintiff classes, including the Generic Pharmaceuticals Pricing Antitrust Litigation, which is the largest pending antitrust class action in the country. Ms. Liebenberg has held leadership roles in numerous organizations focused on the advancement of women lawyers and has played a key role in countless national initiatives to increase diversity in the legal profession, on corporate boards, and in society at large. Read full bio here.

Past Hortense Ward Courageous Leader Recipients

2016- Michele Coleman Mayes

Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary for the New York Public Library

Read full bio here. Watch Michele Coleman Mayes’ acceptance speech here.

2014- Mary Cranston

Mary Cranston photo

Retired Senior Partner and Immediate Past Chair of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Read full bio here. Watch Mary Cranston’s acceptance speech here.

Nomination Criteria:

Each nominee must:

  1. Be a graduate of a law school
  2. Have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement
  3. Have a history of efforts to achieve gender parity in positions of leadership, influence, and responsibility in the legal profession, exhibited in one or more of the following ways:
    • Being a public voice for women
    • Taking specific, concrete steps to eliminate gender bias
    • Creating opportunities that advance women lawyers
    • Actively promoting minority women lawyers
  4. Commit to attend the award ceremony

NOTE:  Founding Members of the Center for Women in Law are not eligible for this award.

Nomination Procedure:

Submit a nomination form in addition to a 2-page letter that outlines specific examples of the nominee’s credentials based on the criteria above.  Supporting documents must include the nominee’s resume/curriculum vitae and at least three (but no more than five) recommendation letters from other individuals.  At least one recommendation letter must come from a woman who benefited directly from the nominee’s efforts.  The nomination packet may also include articles that display the nominee’s credentials and additional personal anecdotes.

If a nomination package was submitted in a prior year for the nominee, please check the box on page 3 of the online form: “Nomination for previous nominee.”  You may submit updated supporting documents, including additional letters of recommendation, to Brittney Garcia.

The Hortense Ward Courageous Leader Award Nomination Form

Applications are no longer being accepted.