Board of Trustees Chair and Law Alumna Honored with Award

Photo of Grace E. Speights, JD '82
Grace E. Speights will be honored with the M. Ashley Dickerson Award by the National Association of Women Lawyers on July 18.
June 25, 2019

Grace E. Speights, a graduate of GW Law's Class of 1982, was selected as the 2019 recipient of the National Association of Women Lawyers’ (NAWL) M. Ashley Dickerson Award. Named in honor of NAWL's first African American president, the annual award goes to a lawyer who has demonstrated throughout her career a dedication and commitment to promoting and advancing diversity within the legal profession. Ms. Speights will be honored at NAWL’s annual meeting and awards luncheon in New York on July 18.

When notifying her of the award, NAWL said Ms. Speights' "work has paved the way for historically disenfranchised groups, including women and people of color, to succeed.”

Chair of the GW Board of Trustees, Ms. Speights is the first African American and woman nominated and elected to the position. She graduated from GW Law with the Order of the Coif and remains involved at her alma mater.

“All of us at GW are enormously proud of Grace Speights’ many professional accomplishments and grateful for her longtime service to the Law School and the university at large,” said Interim Dean Christopher A. Bracey. “The entire GW Law community joins me in applauding her inspirational work and leadership, which has opened doors for many.”

Ms. Speights’ pioneering work in leading internal investigations and counseling corporations on how best to navigate the new workplace paradigm in the wake of the #MeToo movement earned her the distinction of the 2018 Attorney of the Year by The American Lawyer. She also received the Washington Bar Association's George E.C. Hayes Memorial Award in 2016 and the NAACP’s Champion of Justice Award. 

Ms. Speights is a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and leads the firm’s global labor and employment practice, managing more than 250 lawyers across the firm. She handles high-profile and high-stakes workplace matters and is often called upon by clients for crisis management assistance. Ms. Speights defends clients against employment discrimination claims and claims of discrimination in public accommodations. She also counsels on best practices for corporate diversity initiatives and represents clients in systemic investigations and litigation brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.