BOSTON, Feb. 14 , 2009 –The American Bar Association’s (ABA) Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession awarded Goodwin Procter’s Richard A. Soden, with its prestigious “Spirit of Excellence Award,” at its Fourteenth Annual Spirit of Excellence Awards ceremony held in Boston. The Spirit of Excellence Award honors the achievements of diverse lawyers who excel in their professional settings, personify excellence on the national, state, or local level and who have demonstrated a commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession.
For the past 30 years, Soden has been a prominent leader in the legal community and beyond. He is active in the American Bar Association and serves as a member of the ABA’s Board of Governors. He has also served on the board of the Center for Racial and Ethnic Diversity, the Presidential Advisory Counsel on Diversity in the Profession, and the selection committee for the Legal Opportunity Scholarships. Soden also serves as Chairman of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers Oversight Committee. He is a trustee of the Social Law Library, a member of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission, and the Massachusetts IOLTA Committee .
In the early 1970’s, he was instrumental in the revitalization of the African American bar in Massachusetts, spearheading the incorporation of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association and serving as its President in 1980. He is also a past President of the Boston Bar Foundation and a former chairman of the Steering Committee of the Boston Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. In recognition of his election as the President of the Boston Bar Association in 1995, the firm established the Richard Soden Law and Justice Scholarship for Boston public school students interested in a legal career. For the past 14 years, the Soden Scholarships have assisted Boston-area students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college, with achieving their goals of higher education.
“There is no one more deserving of the Spirit of Excellence award than Richard Soden. He exemplifies our firm’s core values of building diversity in the legal community and ensuring equal access to justice,” said Regina M. Pisa, Chairman and Managing Partner of Goodwin Procter. “He is true leader and advocate, who has consistently leveraged his leadership positions in order to open doors for others.”
Soden has served as both a lawyer and a member of governing boards and officers of numerous charitable and civic organizations. He is a member of the Executive Board of the Northeast Region of the Boy Scouts of America and the High Adventure Sea Base Advisory Board, a member of the Overseers Advisory Board of WGBH and an overseer of the New England Aquarium. He is past chairman of the Boston Municipal Research Bureau and the Board of Trustees of the Judge Baker Children’s Center, past president of United South End Settlements and the Boston Minuteman Council of the BSA and a former trustee of Boston University.
Soden grew up in Brooklyn, NY. He received his BA from Hamilton College and graduated from Boston University Law School. He clerked for the Honorable George Edwards, US Court of Appeals, before joining Goodwin Procter in 1971. He was a partner from 1979 until 2006, when he became Counsel to the firm. He is a member of Goodwin Procter’s Business Law Department, specializing in corporate and securities law. His practice has included all aspects of corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance and regulatory compliance.
This is the second time in three years that a Goodwin Procter attorney has been selected to receive this honor. In 2007, the ABA recognized Goodwin Procter partner Paul Lee for his contributions to the National Asian Pacific Bar Association and his longstanding work in promoting diversity.
About Goodwin Procter
Goodwin Procter LLP is one of the nation’s leading law firms with 900 attorneys in offices in Boston, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and Washington, D.C. The firm’s core areas of practice are corporate, litigation and real estate, with specialized areas of focus that include financial services, private equity, technology, REITs and real estate capital markets, intellectual property, tax and products liability. Information may be found at www.goodwinprocter.com.