The American Law Institute will present awards to four recipients at this year's Annual Meeting: 

  • Diane Wood will present the Distinguished Service Award to Roberta Cooper Ramo.
  • Wallace Jefferson will present the Wisdom award to Margaret Marshall.
  • Mike Traynor will present the Wisdom award to Mary Schroeder.
  • U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Elena Kagan will present the Henry J. Friendly Medal to John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice of the United States. Read the announcement here.

Please read more about our award recipients below. Biographies of our award presenters are located on our Speakers page

Distinguished Service Award: Roberta Cooper Ramo

The American Law Institute will present the Distinguished Service Award to ALI President Emerita Roberta Cooper Ramo of Modrall Sperling at this year’s Annual Meeting on Tuesday, May 23. This award is given from time to time to a member who over many years has played a major role in the Institute as an institution, by accepting significant burdens as an officer, Council member, committee chair, or project participant and by helping keep the Institute on a steady course.


Ramo has been an active member of ALI for more than 30 years. Elected to the Council in 1997, she served as First Vice President before being elected the first woman President of the Institute in 2008.

During her nine years as President, she brought a focus on diversity to ALI’s membership and Council election process, effectively bringing more women, minorities, and breadth of practice to the organization. As President, she is also credited with inspiring confidence and participation from all members of the Institute and collegiality through some of the most complex and controversial project discussions.

Her Presidency saw 14 projects completed and 20 projects initiated; Ramo was a driving force behind the first-ever Restatement of American Indian Law. Having oversight on all projects, she often attended project sessions, and never missed a Council or Annual Meeting. As a member of several nonprofit boards, she also lends her expertise as an Adviser on Restatement of the Law, Charitable Nonprofit Organizations.

In her private practice at Modrall Sperling, she works in the areas of arbitration, mediation, business law, real estate, probate, and estate planning. She often is called on to assist corporations with their strategic and long-term legal planning, an area in which she has particular expertise.

In 2015, Ramo received the American Bar Association’s highest award, the ABA Medal. She previously served as president of the American Bar Association from 1995 to 1996, the first woman in history to lead the largest nationwide organization of attorneys. In 2011, she was elected into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, adding her name to a prestigious list of members including George Washington and Albert Einstein, among other notables.

A Fellow of both the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and the American Bar Foundation, she also has served as a panel member for the American Arbitration Association. In 2013, she was elected Board Chair of Think New Mexico, a non-partisan think tank, and she serves as a member of the Board of the Santa Fe Opera and Albuquerque Economic Development.

Ramo was appointed by the United States Senate and served as co-chair of a committee to review governance issues of the U.S. Olympic Committee in 2003. She was named an honorary member of the Bar of England and Wales, and of Gray’s Inn in 2000. She served on the Board of Regents for the University of New Mexico from 1989 to 1995, and as President of the Board from 1991 to 1993. She also served on the New Mexico Board of Finance. Ramo earned her B.A. from the University of Colorado at Boulder and her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.


John Minor Wisdom Award: Margaret H. Marshall and Mary M. Schroeder

The American Law Institute will present the John Minor Wisdom Award to Margaret H. Marshall of Choate Hall & Stewart LLP and Mary M. Schroeder of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit at this year’s Annual Meeting on Monday, May 22. The Wisdom Award is given from time to time in specific recognition of a member’s contributions to the work of the Institute, the primary purpose of which is to recognize members who do not have an official role in Institute projects. Former ALI Reporters, former ALI officers, and Council emeriti are eligible for consideration after their official service has concluded.

Margaret H. Marshall was elected to the Institute in 1990 and served on ALI Council from 1999 to 2019. She was also a member of the Executive Committee from 2014 to 2019 and ALI Treasurer from 2013 to 2014. During her time on ALI Council, she served on the Awards Committee from 2015 to 2021, which recommends candidates for the Institute’s Henry J. Friendly Medal, John Minor Wisdom Award, and Distinguished Service Award, as well as any other awards that may be requested by Council or Executive Committee. Additionally, she was a member of the Audit Committee, Investment Committee, and Program Committee. Marshall continues to invest in the Institute’s future as a member of the Special Committee on ALI’s 100th Anniversary.


In addition to her leadership roles at the Institute, Marshall was an Adviser to Restatement of the Law Third, Agency and Principles of the Law, Student Sexual Misconduct: Procedural Frameworks for Colleges and Universities. She earned her B.A. from Witwatersrand University, her Ed.M. from Harvard University, and her J.D. from Yale Law School.

Currently senior counsel at Choate Hall & Stewart, she was appointed Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in 1996. She served for 11 years as chief justice of the court until her retirement in December 2010, after gaining a national reputation for both her landmark decisions and her reforms of the Massachusetts court system.

Before her time on the bench, Marshall was in private practice for sixteen years before joining Harvard University as Vice President and General Counsel in 1992. She served as the senior fellow of the Yale Corporation until June 30, 2016. In 1966, while living in her native South Africa, she was elected president of the anti-apartheid National Union of South African Students.

She has received numerous awards recognizing her judicial and other accomplishments, including the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession’s Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award, the ABA’s Pursuit of Justice Award, the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Chief Justice Edward F. Hennessey Award for outstanding leadership in the administration of justice, the Boston Bar Association Award for Judicial Excellence, Yale Law School’s Alumni Award of Merit and the Yale Medal. She was the first recipient of Harvard University’s Professional Women’s Achievement Award.

Mary M. Schroeder was elected to the Institute in 1974 and served on ALI's Council from 1994 to 2016. As a Council member, she chaired the Awards Committee from 2009 to 2013. She also served on the Audit Committee from 1997 to 2004, as well as the Projects Committee from 2013 to 2019, advising the Director, Executive Committee, and Council on ongoing and potential projects designed to implement the purposes of the Institute as stated in its Certificate of Incorporation. Projects initiated during her time on the committee include Restatement of the Law, Children and the Law, and Restatement of the Law Third, Conflict of Laws, among others.


In addition to serving on ALI Council, Schroeder is an active participant in ALI’s work. She is an Adviser on Restatement of the Law, Children and the Law, and Principles of the Law, Government Ethics, and has served as an Adviser on Restatement of the Law Third, Agency, and Restatement of the Law, Consumer Contracts. Her role in the Institute also includes participating in Members Consultative Groups for a variety of projects, including Model Penal Code: Sentencing; Principles of the Law, Government Ethics; and Restatement of the Law Fourth, The Foreign Relations Law of the United States.

Schroeder has been a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit since 1979, serving as Chief Judge from December 2000 to 2007. Prior to that, she served as a judge on the Arizona Court of Appeals from 1975 to 1979. She is the first in critical respects in her remarkable career: first woman to be an associate and then a partner in the law firm of Lewis and Roca in Phoenix; first woman to serve on the Arizona Court of Appeals, at the time the youngest woman appellate judge in the nation; and first woman to serve as Chief Judge on the Ninth Circuit.

She also taught at Arizona State University Law School. Schroeder also served as a trial attorney in the Civil Division of the U.S. DOJ from 1965 until 1969. Schroeder earned her B.A. from Swarthmore College and her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. Her contributions to the law have been widely recognized, for example, as a recipient of the ABA's Margaret Brent Award, the Arizona State Bar Association's James A. Walsh Outstanding Jurist Award, and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Swarthmore College.

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