Notice & Comment

Call for Nominations for the Annual Mary C. Lawton Award for Outstanding Government Service


Created in 1989, the Mary C. Lawton Award for Outstanding Government Service honors the memory of Mary Lawton, a distinguished career government lawyer who served on the Council of the Administrative Law Section from 1983-1986, and as Chair of the Section’s Judicial Review Committee from 1986 to 1988. A graduate of Georgetown Law School where she was first in her class and on the Board of Editors of the Law Journal, Mary began her career in the Office of the Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice. At DOJ, she rose through the ranks to become a Deputy Assistant Attorney General. She received numerous awards from the Department of Justice. After a brief stint as General Counsel of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and service as Administrative Law Officer at the White House, Mary returned to the Justice Department as Counsel for Intelligence Policy.


The Mary C. Lawton Award for Outstanding Government Service is presented annually by the American Bar Association’s Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice. The nomination should be based on outstanding contributions to the development, implementation, or improvement of administrative law and regulatory practice that reflects sustained excellence in performance. This is an extremely prestigious award, and we hope that you will give thoughtful consideration to this request for nominees. There are relatively few honors for government attorneys that recognize them for the “body of their work.” Past recipients of the Award have spoken of this recognition as being a career capstone, and we are privileged to recognize their service. All government attorneys active in the fields of administrative law and regulatory practice are eligible. While career officials generally will be favored, exceptional political appointees also will be considered. Nominations are being solicited from federal government agency general counsels, state attorneys general, and other officials, as well as from members of our Section and the ABA Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division.


Please submit One (1) Nomination Letter including the name, title, agency, full address, telephone number and email address for the individual being nominated. In addition, the Nomination Letter should include the period of government service of the nominee, the departments or agencies in which he or she has served and is currently serving, and the specific contributions of the nominee that you think warrant his or her selection including mentoring activities in the administrative law and regulatory practice area; length of professional service; level of responsibility in positions held; discrete, significant accomplishments; teaching experience; scholarship; participation in professional activities; and other awards or recognition. The Committee would find it helpful if your nomination addresses these and any other factors you believe illuminate the nominee’s qualifications. Please provide in addition complete contact information for the Nominator,

as well as the names, phone numbers and email addresses of 2-3 other individuals whom the committee may contact to discuss the nominee’s qualifications.

Entry Procedure

Please save the Nomination Letter as a Microsoft Word document or a PDF file. Email the Nomination Letter to Section Director Anne Kiefer ( by 7 pm Eastern time on April 16, 2021 (for the 2020 Award) Please direct any questions about the contest to the Section Director at

Judging & Winner Notification

The entries will be judged by the Mary C. Lawton Award Committee of the ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice. The Committee holds its review meetings in April and the Award will be presented in May 2021. While we recognize that all of the individuals nominated for this award are most worthy, we select only one winner each year, and that winner is chosen at the sole discretion of the Section and its Awards Committee. The Section Director will contact all Nominators once a winner has been selected. The Nominator for the winning nominee will be given the opportunity to share the news with the award winner. Entries will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Mentoring activities in the administrative law and regulatory practice area
  • Length of professional service
  • Level of responsibility in positions held
  • Discrete, significant accomplishments such as teaching experience; scholarship; participation in professional activities; and other awards or recognition.


The winner will receive a commemorative framed certificate and an invitation to the Section’s Virtual Live Spring Conference Awards Presentation on May 21, 2021. We work with agency ethics counsel and this award has generally been deemed to be acceptable for covered officials. We ask the winner to share with our attendees a short presentation on their experiences and observations over a long career, and we have found these presentations to be very enlightening and rewarding for all concerned. For any questions or concerns, please contact Anne Kiefer or 202.662.1690.

American Bar Association

Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice

Recipients of the Mary C. Lawton Award

1989Lawrence G. Wallace, Deputy Solicitor General, U.S. Department of Justice
1990Robert A. Shapiro, Deputy Associate Solicitor for Legislation and Legal Counsel, Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of Labor
1991Daniel M. Armstrong, Chief of the Litigation Division, Federal Communications Commission
1992William C. Parler, General Counsel, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
1993Karl Engeman, Office of Administrative Hearings
1994Jeffrey S. Lubbers, Research Director, Administrative Conference of the United States
1995Ellen D. Hanson, Deputy General Counsel, Interstate Commerce Commission
1996John H. Ferguson, Assistant General Counsel of the Appellate Court Branch, National Labor Relations Board
1997Neil R. Eisner, Assistant General Counsel for Regulation and Enforcement, U.S. Department of Transportation
1998Catherine O. Murphy, Deputy Regional Solicitor – Region III, U.S. Department of Labor
1999Joyce M. Martin, Executive Director of Environment/Energy, Office of the Governor of Indiana
2000Joan Z. Bernstein, Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission
2001Stanley Pruss, Assistant Attorney General in Charge of the Consumer Protection Division, State of Michigan
2002Alan Schoem, Director, Office of Compliance, Consumer Product Safety Commission
2003Michael Messitte, Settlement and Compliance Director, Appellate Court Branch, National Labor Relations Board
2004Thomas Spahr, Chief Legal Counsel, Child Support Enforcement Division, State of New Mexico
2005Morton Rosenberg, American Law Division, Congressional Research Service
2006John C. Cruden, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, U.S. Department of Justice; and Lydia Quarles, Commissioner, Mississippi Workers Compensation Commission
2007The Honorable John Vittone, Chief Administrative Law Judge, U.S. Department of Labor
2008Peggy Mastroianni, Associate Legal Counsel, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
2009The Hon. Chief Judge William E. Fowler, Jr.
2010Karen Clopton, Chief Administrative Law Judge for the California Public Utilities Commission
2011Gabriel Taussig, Chief of the Administrative Law Division of the New York City Law Department
2012Mary Beth Richards, Deputy Executive Director, Federal Trade Commission
2013Rosemary Hart, Senior Counsel, Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice
2014David Pritzker, Deputy General Counsel, Administrative Conference of the United States
2015Richard C. Handel, South Carolina Department of Revenue, Multistate Tax Commission
2016Judith S. Kaleta, Deputy General Counsel, US Department of Transportation
2017David Sullivan, Special Counsel, Office of the Massachusetts Senate President
2018Carol Ann Siciliano, Associate General Counsel, Office of General Counsel, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
2019Daniel Cohen, Assistant General Counsel for Legislation, Regulation and Energy Efficiency, Office of the General Counsel, U.S. Department of Energy
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