New Badge For Best Lawyers?

The idea of an “award” for lawyers has been floating around since at least the 1920s, but it seems to have come into fashion in the late ’80s. According to an article published by Lawyers Weekly Review on Dec. 21, 1988, William Rehnquist (then Chief Justice of the U.S.) was instrumental in starting the practice with a speech he delivered later that day at Georgetown Law Center’s Pagano Symposium on Law and Ethics:

He called upon young lawyers who felt they were being overlooked or ignored by their colleagues to seek recognition from others as professionals – especially those who had distinguished themselves – and gave them a new label – “advocates.” The term is not restricted to particular types of cases or clients but applies equally well to judges, juries and members of other professions such as engineers or doctors … In each case where there are recognized standards for judging professional conduct among attorneys we should ask ourselves what criteria may be used for this purpose? I suggest two: firstly, whether one has been recognized by his peers as having done a good job; secondly whether one can demonstrate that he or she could do better if given another chance. I would like all interested attorneys here today prepared to answer these questions honestly if asked them…When you stand up before your friends after graduation saying “I’m going into law,” don’t say it simply because you want some kind of award. Say it because you believe that justice requires us as practitioners …to

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