Jerome J. Shestack, of the law firm of WolfBlock, has been selected to receive the 2006 American Bar Association Medal. The ABA Medal is the highest recognition the association confers, and honors individuals who have rendered exceptionally distinguished service to the cause of American jurisprudence.
'Jerry Shestack's contributions span many fields and have taken place in settings too numerous to recount, but perhaps they can best be encompassed by understanding him as an ambassador for human rights throughout the world,' said ABA President Michael S. Greco in announcing the selection.
Mr. Greco will present the medal on Aug. 7, during the meeting of the ABA's House of Delegates at the 2006 ABA Meeting in Honolulu.
Mr. Shestack's first civil rights challenge was support of admission of women students at Harvard Law School, a goal realized shortly after his 1949 graduation.
He was appointed as Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights by President Jimmy Carter in 1979. He is credited with spurring U.S. leadership within the U.N. commission and with helping to create the first 'human rights bloc' in U.N. history.
Also on the international level, Mr. Shestack is a past president of the International League for Human Rights. He was a co-founder and chair of the Lawyers Committee for International Human Rights, chair of the International Bar Association's Standing Committee on Human Rights and a counselor of the American Society of International Law.
Mr. Shestack was president of the American Bar Association in 1997-98. He focused on increasing professionalism within the bar, established a high level commission to review and revise the bar's model code of ethics, and initiated a pay-to-play ethical rule.