Emory Law Honors 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients
Emory University School of Law announces its 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients: the Hon. Gordon D. Giffin 74L, Ruth J. Katz 77L and Thomas A. Reynolds III 77L. This year’s recipients will be honored at an awards ceremony Thursday, Nov. 12, in the school’s Tull Auditorium.
Giffin is a senior partner at McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP, where he chairs the public policy and international department. He has a long and distinguished legal career in both public and private practice. Following his graduation from Emory Law, Giffin served as the legislative director and chief counsel to U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn 61L 62L in Washington, D.C. In 1984, he joined Sen. Nunn and then-Gov. Bill Clinton in founding the Democratic Leadership Council, on whose board he served until 1996. Following the 1992 presidential election, Giffin served as deputy director of personnel for the White House transition team. He later served as a presidential appointee to the board of directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corp.
From 1997 to 2001, Giffin served as the 19th U.S. ambassador to Canada. As chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, he managed U.S. interests in the world’s largest bilateral trading relationship in the context of the North American Free Trade Agreement, as well as U.S. collaboration with Canada on global issues.
Giffin then returned to McKenna Long & Aldridge. His practice includes administrative and regulatory law in the energy, environmental, trade, communications and procurement fields. He also is actively engaged in public policy and transactions in the transborder context. Additionally, he serves on the board of directors of several corporate and nonprofit enterprises.
Giffin’s commitment and service to Emory Law is steadfast. He has served on the Law School Council—now the Emory Law Advisory Board—as well as the board of The Carter Center. He has hosted and participated in numerous alumni panels and programming regarding the political atmosphere and election analysis, and he has served as an adjunct professor.
Combining her legal education with a master of public health from Harvard University, Katz has been a leader in public service and in the medical and legal professions since she graduated from Emory Law more than 30 years ago. Early in her career, Katz worked for the Atlantic City prosecutor’s office and practiced law in Philadelphia.
Following her graduation from Harvard, Katz worked as a policy analyst to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Select Panel for the Promotion of Child Health. From 1982 to 1985, she served as counsel to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Health and Environment of the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
After leaving Capitol Hill, Katz served as the director of public health programs at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. She also worked as counsel to the Advocacy Committee on Tobacco Policy and Public Health. Katz served as an associate dean of Yale University’s School of Medicine and subsequently was appointed as dean of The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. In May, she rejoined Congress as chief public health counsel for the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Her efforts are now focused on helping to enact health reform legislation.
An active alumna, Katz served as a long-term member of the Law School Council and the Dean’s Council at the Rollins School of Public Health. She also sits on Emory University’s Board of Trustees.
Reynolds is a partner at Winston & Strawn LLP, an international law firm with more than 900 attorneys in 12 offices. He recently stepped down from the firm’s executive committee after 12 years in a senior management role. A former assistant attorney general for Illinois, Reynolds focuses on commercial litigation, securities litigation, shareholder actions, fiduciary duty claims, probate litigation and criminal law.
Reynolds has represented highly visible companies in major commercial cases and administrative proceedings across the country. Along with another Winston & Strawn partner, Reynolds holds the distinction of having secured the highest jury award—$181 million for Carbon County Coal Co.—ever collected in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. He also represented United Airlines in its successful bid for authority of a Chicago-Tokyo route before the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Reynolds is a member of the board of directors of Georgetown University and a past president of the Better Government Association in Chicago. He is a trustee at the University of Chicago Hospital, Big Shoulders, LINK Unlimited and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Reynolds recently was elected to the University of Chicago Board of Trustees. In addition, he was elected vice chair of the board of the trustees for the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he has been a trustee since 2000.
Reynolds is an executive committee member of the Emory Law Advisory Board and has hosted and organized several alumni events in Chicago.
Nominations for the Distinguished Alumni Award are accepted throughout the year from Emory Law alumni and members of the community. Nominations are reviewed by the Emory Law Alumni Board based on the nominees’ credentials and record of service to the legal profession. The Emory Law Alumni Board selects the recipients.
The recipients’ photos and biographies will be added to the Emory University School of Law Hall of Distinguished Alumni in Gambrell Hall during the awards ceremony.List: <- Back to: News Releases