ALEXANDRIA, Va.--()--The Honorable Deanell Reece Tacha has been selected to receive the prestigious 2012 American Inns of Court’s A. Sherman Christensen Award. The award will be presented by Judge Patrick E. Higginbotham at the American Inns of Court’s annual Celebration of Excellence, which will be held at the Supreme Court of the United States on October 20.
Given in the name of the founder of the first American Inn of Court, this award is bestowed upon a member of an American Inn of Court who, at the local, state, or national level, has provided distinguished, exceptional, and significant leadership to the American Inns of Court. The recipient exemplifies the qualities of leadership and commitment displayed by Judge A. Sherman Christensen.
Tacha is the Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean and a professor at Pepperdine University School of Law, and has been a member of the American Inns of Court since 1992. Tacha has long been a leading advocate for enhanced ethics, professionalism, and civility in the legal profession and is very involved in the American Inns of Court both locally and nationally. She was a co-founder of the Judge Hugh Means American Inn of Court in Lawrence, KS, and served on the American Inns of Court Foundation Board of Trustees, serving as president from 2004–2008.
Tacha holds a BA from the University of Kansas and a JD from the University of Michigan. After finishing law school, Tacha served as a White House Fellow before returning to the University of Kansas as an associate professor of law from 1974–1977, professor of law from 1977–1985, and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs from 1981–1985. Prior to her appointment as dean at Pepperdine, she served as a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, serving as chief judge from 2001–2007. Her contributions to the legal profession were recognized with several awards, including the 2007 Devitt Award, the highest honor given to a federal judge for distinguished lifetime service. In 2008, the American Bar Association honored her with its John Marshall Award for her distinguished service and positive impact on the legal profession.
The American Inns of Court, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, fosters excellence in professionalism, ethics, civility, and legal skills. Today there are 367 chartered American Inns of Court in 48 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam. There are more than 29,000 members nationwide encompassing a wide cross-section of the legal community, including federal and state judges, lawyers, law professors, and law students.