On Thursday, October 13, 2011, at The Boston Harbor Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts, David Wirtes and Steven Nicholas of Cunningham Bounds presented Justice Janie Ledlow Shores with the first Litigation Counsel of America Justice Janie L. Shores Trailblazer Award.
Justice Shores personifies the spirit of this award. From humble beginnings she persevered, leaving behind the cotton fields of rural south Alabama in the 1930s and 40s. She graduated from college when most of her female contemporaries were at home on the farm, then at a time when female lawyers were a rarity, graduated from the University of Alabama School of Law at the top of her class and as an editor of the Alabama Law Review. Early on, Justice Shores took early stands against racial segregation when doing so in Alabama was not just unpopular, but often dangerous. She fought every day against the prejudices pervasive in life in the Deep South. Eventually, she earned her way to the top, winning a seat on the Alabama Supreme Court, and thereby becoming the first woman ever elected to any appellate judicial post in the United States. Since braving those new frontiers, a full thirty percent of all this country’s appellate jurists are now women.
Justice Shores served with distinction on the Supreme Court of Alabama for 25 years. She participated in decisions of that Court that now shape the way we live and work in Alabama. Her influence will be felt for generations.
The Justice Janie L. Shores Trailblazer Award will be presented annually to a member of the bench or bar whose lifetime achievements in the law serve as the beacon of high standards that all should aspire to follow. For selection of future award winners, emphasis will be placed on efforts and acts within the legal profession that are cutting-edge in the advancement of justice.