Seattle - Global law firm K&L Gates LLP congratulates retired partner William (Bill) H. Neukom, who the American Bar Association (ABA) announced today as the recipient of a 2020 ABA Medal – the association’s highest honor – for his work as “an international champion for justice who has devoted his life and career to public service, access to justice, and advancing the rule of law.” Neukom will be awarded the medal, which recognizes exceptionally distinguished service by a lawyer or lawyers to the cause of American jurisprudence, at a ceremony taking place during the ABA’s virtual annual meeting on Wednesday, July 29.
Currently the chief executive officer and founder of the World Justice Project, an organization devoted to promoting the rule of law throughout the world, Neukom’s affiliation with K&L Gates began in the late-1970s, when he joined the firm that would later become Preston Gates & Ellis LLP and combine with Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham LLP in January 2007 to form K&L Gates LLP. He established a diverse practice that included a variety of civil rights cases and representation of numerous community organizations as well as the start of his advising Microsoft Corporation, for whom he would move on to serve as the lead lawyer for nearly 25 years, managing the technology company’s legal, government affairs, and philanthropic activities in his role as Microsoft’s executive vice president of law and corporate affairs.
After retiring from Microsoft in 2002, Neukom returned to Preston Gates & Ellis, serving as the firm’s chairman until the 2007 combination that created K&L Gates. He was president of the American Bar Association from 2007 to 2008 and retired from K&L Gates in 2008 when he accepted the role of chief executive officer for the San Francisco Giants baseball team and later founded the World Justice Project.
K&L Gates Global Managing Partner Jim Segerdahl commented: “K&L Gates congratulates Bill on this latest in a long list of honors and is deeply grateful for Bill’s numerous, varied, and vitally important contributions to the profession and the cause of justice throughout his career. We are tremendously proud as a firm to have been a part of Bill’s professional story and to be associated with his extraordinary range of accomplishments and contributions.”
Neukom is the second partner from K&L Gates to receive the ABA Medal, with fellow Preston Gates & Ellis/K&L Gates colleague Bill Gates, Sr., also having been honored with the award from the ABA in 2009. Other previous recipients of the medal include U.S. Supreme Court justices Oliver Wendell Holmes, Felix Frankfurter, Thurgood Marshall, William J. Brennan, Jr., and Sandra Day O’Connor; Watergate special prosecutor Leon Jaworski; human rights activist Father Robert Drinan; and former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“We are delighted to see Bill honored by the ABA for his many contributions to the world of law – not only during his tenure with K&L Gates, but as chief legal officer for several decades to the firm’s longtime client Microsoft, founder of the World Justice Project, and in his various roles with the ABA – through all of which he has shown immense dedication to helping to ensure civil rights and protecting and expanding the rule of law,” stated Pallavi Mehta Wahi, managing partner of K&L Gates’ Seattle office and the firm’s co-managing partner, United States, as well as chair of the firmwide diversity committee.