Thursday, May 1, 2008
LACBA Selects Supervisor Yvonne Burke for Shattuck-Price Award
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Yvonne Brathwaite Burke has been selected to receive the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s highest honor, the Shattuck-Price Outstanding Attorney Award.
Named after two former County Bar presidents who died in office, Edward S. Shattuck and Ira M. Price II, the award is based on outstanding dedication to the high principles of the legal profession and the administration of justice.
The association’s board of directors unanimously selected Burke to receive the award last Wednesday night, and Burke, who was notified of the award on Monday, said she was very surprised and flattered.
“As an attorney it is great to know your county bar is supporting you,” she said.
Award committee member Katessa Charles Davis said, “when I think of Yvonne Brathwaite Burke I think of a pioneer, advocate, and counselor who used her legal training for the greatest public good.”
The Second District Supervisor was the first African American woman in the California Legislature and the first to represent the state in Congress. In 1973, she became the first member of Congress to give birth while in office.
By her own count—the State Bar of California has no official figures—Burke was only the fifth African American woman to be certified to practice law in the state when she was admitted to the state bar in 1956. She also was the first African American woman admitted to USC’s law school since 1928.
Burke spent over a decade as a partner in the Los Angeles office of Cleveland’s Jones, Day, Reavis and Pogue (now Jones Day) before being elected to succeed the late Kenneth Hahn on the board in 1992. She has announced plans to retire at the end of her term later this year.
The MetNews honored Burke as its “Person of the Year” for 2003.
LACBA President Gretchen Nelson said that “hearing and listening to the life of Supervisor Burke is really a history lesson.”
Quoting Davis, Nelson added:
“Hers is ‘truly the history of the advancement of women and African Americans in the Los Angeles legal community,’ that sums up so beautifully all the things that [Burke] has done for women, for African Americans, the legal community and the community at large.”
Award committee chair Alan K. Steinbrecher said that the committee was impressed by Burke’s “long and dedicated services to the legal community and the entire community of Los Angeles,” especially her work as a supervisor and congresswoman that “overlapped areas of direct legal interest to the bar and the legal community in Los Angeles.”
The association will present the award at its installation dinner on June 26th at the Biltmore Hotel, where Deputy District Attorney Danette E. Meyers will be installed as the association’s first African American female president.
Other members of the award committee included vice-chair Robin Meadow, Phil Barbaro, Brian Huben, Miriam Krinsky, John Collins, Alex Ghareeb, Edith Matthai and Richard Lewis.
Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company