Barclay Damon Litigator Linda Clark to Receive Scheindlin Award For Excellence in the Courtroom
November 14, 2017—Barclay Damon announces Linda J. Clark, chair of the law firm’s Health Care Controversies Practice Area, will be honored by the New York State Bar Association’s Commercial & Federal Litigation Section with the prestigious Hon. Shira A. Scheindlin Award for Excellence in the Courtroom.
The award will be presented November 15 in the Daniel Patrick Moynihan US Courthouse, New York City, by US District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino, Northern District of New York.
Clark is nationally recognized for her work as a lead trial lawyer and national, regional, and local litigation counsel in a wide range of matters, including the prosecution and defense of claims brought in state and federal courts on behalf of large groups of business and institutional clients.
The Shira A. Scheindlin Award for Excellence in the Courtroom was created in honor of former US District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, Southern District of New York, who was past chair of NYSBA’s Commercial & Federal Litigation Section. The section presents the award each year to a woman litigator who has distinguished herself in the courtroom in either the federal or state courts in New York and who has shown a commitment to mentoring young attorneys. The presentation is always made in early November to commemorate the date when women in New York State received the right to vote, November 6, 1917.
“I am humbled to be selected from among the state’s innumerable outstanding women litigators for this honor,” Clark noted. “And to receive this esteemed award as New York State is celebrating the 100th anniversary of women earning the right to vote is particularly gratifying. I am honored.”
“I believe my success is due in large part,” Clark continued, “to the importance our firm places on diversity and inclusion. The empowerment, elevation, and support of women is part of our driving philosophy, and it’s incorporated into every aspect of the firm’s operations, hiring, and training. This environment has allowed me to flourish in delivering on client needs and, I hope, to offer the same type of empowerment and support to the next generation of attorneys.”
John P. Langan, Barclay Damon’s managing partner, said, “As a firm that seeks to foster a gender-neutral culture that focuses on the individual talents and skills its attorneys bring to the firm, courtroom, and/or closing table, we consider this a win for Barclay Damon as well as a huge and well-deserved honor for Linda. We are so proud of her and the inspiring work she does for our clients—both in and out of the courtroom.”
“Linda’s accomplishments as a lawyer are second to none,” added M. Cornelia Cahill, the firm’s incoming deputy managing partner, “and I am always impressed by her readiness and willingness, in spite of all the professional demands she faces, to share her time and wisdom with younger women attorneys, whether it’s through our Women’s Forum, our mentoring program, or informal day-to-day interactions. I look forward to seeing where Linda’s career will take her and where she will guide the next generation at our firm.”
In addition to supporting, mentoring, and championing women litigators as they achieve high-level trial roles, Barclay Damon’s diversity and inclusion initiatives include mentoring and promoting women into leadership positions within the firm. Women holding top-level leadership roles include two practice group leaders, 12 practice area chairs, and four administrative department heads, in addition to Cahill, who will become the firm’s first deputy managing partner on January 1, 2018, and is the longest-standing member of the firm’s Management Committee.
Background information on the status of women litigators
Judge Scheindlin, for whom the award is named, said that in her 22 years on the federal bench—1994 through 2016—she found speaking roles in court were almost always handled by men. She observed that women attorneys often sat at counsel table but were usually junior and silent. Even though about half of law school graduates have been women since the early 1990s, it was rare that women had lead roles.
A recent first-ever observational study by the New York State Bar Association backed this up, revealing that women attorneys appear in court less often than men, and when they do appear, women are less likely to have a prominent role. Based on this study, as reported in the New York Times, Judge Scheindlin requested Senior US District Judge Jack B. Weinstein, Eastern District of New York, consider amending his courtroom rules to urge a more visible and substantive role for young women attorneys, which he did in August 2017. According to the bar association, only about 20 of the hundreds of federal judges around the country have established similar rules.
Barclay Damon LLP, listed as a “Top 250 Firm” by The National Law Journal, is a full-service law firm with offices throughout the major cities of New York State and in Toronto, Boston, Washington DC, and Newark. At 275 lawyers, Barclay Damon is the largest law firm in the Northeastern United States that is not centered in a major market. Barclay Damon provides comprehensive legal and business counsel to a diverse client base in 33 practice areas.