February 2, 2009


New York attorney honored with State Bar's highest tribute

ALBANY-The New York State Bar Association has presented its highest honor - the Gold Medal - to Frederick "Fritz" A.O. Schwarz, Jr. in recognition of lifelong excellence in the legal profession and his unparalleled civic contributions. The award was presented by President Bernice K. Leber of New York(Arent Fox LLP) at the President's Dinner held on Saturday, January 31, 2009 , as part of the Association's Annual Meeting.

Throughout his career, Schwarz has combined private practice with vital public service. In addition to his current position as senior counsel at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, he also serves as senior counsel and interim director of the democracy program at New York University Law School 's Brennan Centerfor Justice.

"Spanning more than four decades, Fritz Schwarz's career has truly been remarkable and has exemplified the very best of the legal profession. From his work in civil rights in the 1960s to campaign finance reform today, and from his efforts at the Natural Resources Defense Council to his work on the Hill, Fritz has tackled the tough issues and made significant contributions to our way of life as Americans," said President Bernice K. Leber of New York. "I can think of no one more deserving of our Association's highest honor than Mr. Schwarz."

"Legislation seldom comes unless the public is convinced of the need for change," said Schwarz, in his acceptance speech addressing the harm caused by excessive government secrecy. "Change needs teachers. And what needs to be taught is that good policy is more likely when derived through transparency."

Widely recognized for his skilled leadership, grace and keen insights over the course of his career, Schwarz served as chair of New York's Campaign Finance Board, the Board of the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Board of the Vera Institute of Justice. He previously served as chief counsel to the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activity in 1975-1976; as Corporation Counsel under former New York City Mayor Edward I. Koch in 1982-1986; and as chair of the 1989 New York City Charter Revision Commission.

Schwarz received his undergraduate degree magma cum laude from Harvard University in 1957 and his law degree magma cum laude from Harvard Law Schoolin 1960, where he was an editor of the Law Review. American Lawyer Magazine honored him with a Lifetime Achievement award in 2004.

The author of ://www.amazon.com/Nigeria-Tribes-Nation-Politics-Independence/dp/B0007DKKGO/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1228334315&sr=1-3">Nigeria the Tribes, the Nation, or the Race -The Politics of Independence, Schwarz helped the then-newly independent nation restructure its laws. Along with Aziz Z. Huq, he co-authored ://www.amazon.com/Unchecked-Unbalanced-Presidential-Power-Terror/dp/1595583475/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1228334315&sr=1-1">Unchecked and Unbalanced: Presidential Power in a Time of Terror.

First awarded in 1952, the prestigious Gold Medal is presented annually to a distinguished member of the bench or bar whose qualifications include outstanding legal ability, as well as leadership in the legal profession and the community. The recipient also is someone actively involved in civic and community activities and with significant interest in the work of the State Bar.

The 76,000-member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New Yorkand the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Founded in 1876, State Bar programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.