Center for Women in Law

Convening leaders, generating ideas, leading change.

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 recipient will be honored at the CWIL’s Award Luncheon on April 15, 2016. Read about the 2014 Hortense Ward Courageous Leader Award recipient from the 5th Anniversary Awards Luncheon.

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 on April 15, 2016

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 Dawnyelle Addison at

**The nomination period has ended.**

Nominating Committee:

Linda Broocks, Chair

Linda Chanow

Nina Cortell

Lori Erwin

Julie Hardin

Linda Hunsaker

Cathy Lamboley

Sandra Phillips

Gail Watkins

Hortense Sparks WardThe Honorable Hortense Sparks Ward (1872-1944) was an accomplished lawyer, suffragist and champion of women’s rights in Texas in the early 1900s.  Ward was the first woman to pass the Texas State Bar exam, the first woman to be admitted to the Texas State Bar, and the only woman to serve as Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court.  Ward campaigned tirelessly to advance women’s rights and status in Texas. Read more.

Journal of the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society:

Family Remembrances and the Legacy of Chief Justice Hortense Sparks Ward
(pg. 51)

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