The Honorable Vanessa Ruiz, Senior Judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, will receive the 2022 Outstanding Service Award from the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation (ABF). Ruiz will receive the award during the 66th Annual Fellows Awards Banquet, an event which will be held on February 15, 2022. The ABF Fellows Outstanding Service Award is given to an individual who has, in his or her professional career, adhered for more than thirty years to the highest principles and traditions of the legal profession and to the service of the public.
“We are thrilled to present Judge Ruiz with the Fellows Outstanding Service Award for her endless dedication to public service and contributions to the legal profession,” said Cynthia E. Nance, Chair of the Fellows and a current Patron Fellow. “Her life’s work has strengthened our understanding of judicial integrity, and she has admirably served as a voice on the importance of more deliberate inclusion of women and minorities in the judiciary.”
“This is a great honor from the Fellows of the ABF,” Judge Ruiz said. “Public service has been a driving force in my career. I have been inspired by mentors and role models and I encourage others to do the same, to give back, to pay it forward. The ABF is an organization aligned with furthering the legal profession by ensuring excellence and inclusion in our field.
A Life Fellow of the ABF, Ruiz is the longest-serving woman on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and the first (and only) Hispanic lawyer appointed to the court and as the chief legal officer for the District of Columbia
Judge Ruiz has been a national leader in judicial ethics and access to justice initiatives. Specifically, she has chaired the D.C. Courts’ Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct and is a judicial member of the District of Columbia Access to Justice Commission. The judge is a recognized and celebrated voice for enhancing access to justice for those who are unrepresented, as well as underserved and immigrant communities
Additionally, Judge Ruiz is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions. These awards include Judge of the Year from the Hispanic National Bar Association, Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hispanic Bar Association of D.C., Latina Leader in Law Award from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, a Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Legal Service from MALDEF, the first Vaino Spencer Leadership Award of the National Association of Women Judges and Woman Lawyer of the Year by the D.C. Women’s Bar Association. Additionally, Judge Ruiz is the recipient of the ABA Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Distinction Award.
About the American Bar Foundation
The American Bar Foundation (ABF) is the world’s leading research institute for the empirical and interdisciplinary study of law. The ABF seeks to expand knowledge and advance justice through innovative, interdisciplinary, and rigorous empirical research on law, legal processes, and legal institutions. To further this mission the ABF will produce timely, cutting-edge research of the highest quality to inform and guide the legal profession, the academy, and society in the United States and internationally. The ABF’s primary funding is provided by the American Bar Endowment and the Fellows of The American Bar Foundation.