Former U.S. Attorneys to Gather at City Bar for 25th Annual Stimson Awards

In 1993, the New York City Bar Association awarded its first Henry L. Stimson Medal to two up and coming prosecutors: James Comey from the Criminal Division of the Southern District of New York, who went on to become F.B.I. Director, and Alan Vinegrad from the Criminal Division of the Eastern District of New York, who went on to become U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District. The Stimson Medal honors outstanding Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York for their integrity, fairness, courage and public service. 

The following year, Leslie R. Caldwell was honored; she would go on to head the Enron Task Force and to be Assistant U.S. Attorney General for the Criminal Division. In 1996, the honor went to Valerie Caproni, who seven years later was named General Counsel of the FBI by Director Robert Mueller, and who is now a U.S. District Judge in the S.D.N.Y. In 1997, the Stimson Medal went to Patrick Fitzgerald, who became U.S. Attorney in Chicago and the Special Counsel in the “Scooter” Libby case. Richard Weber (2000) went on to be Chief of the Asset Forfeiture and Anti-Money Laundering Section of the Department of Justice. Robert Khuzami (2001) became head of the Enforcement Division of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Jack Smith (2008) became Chief of the Public Integrity Section at the Department of Justice. 

Paul Gardephe (1996), Richard Sullivan (2003) and Cathy Seibel (2004) all became judges in the Southern District; Sean Lane (2008) became a Southern District Bankruptcy Judge; and Cheryl Pollak (1995) serves as a Magistrate Judge in the Eastern District and James Cott (1999) as a Magistrate Judge in the Southern District. 

The most recent additions to this impressive roster are this year’s winners:  Edward Newman, E.D.N.Y. Civil Division; Nicole M. Argentieri, E.D.N.Y. Criminal Division; Robert William Yalen, S.D.N.Y.  Civil Division; and Andrew D. Goldstein, S.D.N.Y. Criminal Division. 

On Tuesday, June 6, most of the former Medal recipients are expected to be in attendance to honor this year’s recipients and the legacy of the Stimson Medal. In addition, many of the former U.S. Attorneys for the Southern and Eastern Districts are expected to attend. 

Mary Jo White, former U.S. Attorney in both Districts, and who until this year served as Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, will give a keynote address. City Bar President John S. Kiernan will present the Medals. Mark R. Hellerer, Chair of the City Bar’s Stimson Medal Committee, will moderate. 

The criteria for award of the Henry L. Stimson Medal are outstanding contributions to public service, absolute integrity, candor and fairness in dealing with adversaries and the court, highly-developed professional skills, and personal courage and conviction. 

The Medal was initiated by the City Bar to honor the memory of Henry L. Stimson, who was appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1906 to 1909. As Felix Frankfurter, one of Stimson’s first assistants at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, stated in his oral history, Stimson “inherited an office [of the United States Attorney] which by tradition up to that time was, with negligible exceptions, manned by hacks and mere jobholders.” To address this situation, Stimson radically changed the system and professionalized the office. He asked the deans of leading law schools to recommend to him promising recent graduates. He tripled the staff by paying salaries one-third the previous size, and counted on the rewards of public service to attract enthusiastic and able young lawyers. 

The Stimson Medal Awards are made possible by the generosity of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, Henry Stimson’s legacy law firm.