Stephen Saltzburg Honored with ABA’s 2021 John H. Pickering Achievement Award

Professor Stephen Saltzburg
August 13, 2021

The American Bar Association's (ABA) Senior Lawyer's Division conferred the John H. Pickering Achievement Award on Stephen Saltzburg during a virtual ceremony on August 4, 2021.

The John H. Pickering Achievement Award honors the life and accomplishments of Mr. Pickering, who was involved in various pro bono activities and law-related societal issues affecting the elderly. The 2021 award was sponsored by WilmerHale, Hanson Bridgett, and the ABA Criminal Justice Section.

The award has both professional and personal significance for Professor Saltzburg, who became acquainted with Mr. Pickering when they both mediated cases for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

"We had conversations about his two-year clerkship with Supreme Court Justice Frank Murphy and my clerkship with Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall," said Professor Saltzburg. "John and Justice Marshall were good friends. Both were devoted to civil rights and greatly admired each other." 

Professor Saltzburg especially admired Mr. Pickering’s commitment to pro bono work. "John set the bar where it should be," Professor Saltzburg said. "Pro bono work matters and all lawyers should do it. Lawyers should do everything they can to make access to justice readily available to all Americans, and lawyers must adhere to the highest ethical and professional standards."

Upon notification of the award, Professor Saltzburg was thrilled. "The lawyer who nominated me, Neal Sonnett, and I serve together in the American Bar Association House of Delegates representing the Criminal Justice Section," Professor Saltzburg said. "Neal won the award in 2008, the second year it was given. People I have worked with for many years have won it, as well, including the Honorable Bernice Donald of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit who won the Award in 2014. It is a thrill to be in their company." 

Professor Saltzburg is the Wallace and Beverley Woodbury University Professor of Law and co-director of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Program. At GW Law, he has taught civil procedure, constitutional law, criminal law, criminal procedure, evidence, and trial advocacy. He appreciates the encouragement he has received from GW Law’s esteemed faculty and Deans throughout his career at the law school.

"Over the years I have been in awe of much of the work of my colleagues on the faculty," said Professor Saltzburg. "They set high standards for scholarship, teaching and community service; and they met those standards."

"I have been encouraged by Deans of the GW Law School to flex my professional muscles and to try new things," Professor Saltzburg continued. "Jack Friedenthal supported my efforts in 1996 to create our Master's Program in Litigation and Dispute Resolution. Deans Michael Young and Fred Lawrence encouraged the work that I did with the American Bar Association to improve criminal justice in the United States."

"Twice I was fortunate enough to teach a unique professional responsibility course with my colleague, Robert Tuttle. He is a walking, talking example of ethics and professionalism brought to life, and he reminded me of just how high one can reach to set a personal standard,” he said. 

Professor Saltzburg also has high praise for GW’s student community. “I have been inspired over the years by GW students who want to become lawyers so that they can improve the state of the rule of law, not just in the United States, but throughout the world,” he said.