NEW YORK- Human rights activist, Chen Guangcheng, was selected by the Litigation Counsel of America as the recipient of the 2012 Justice Janie L. Shores Trailblazer Award. The award was presented on December 1, 2012, by LCA Executive Director and General Counsel, G. Steven Henry, George Dent of Cunningham Bounds, LLC (Mobile, AL), and James Lynch of Lynch Daskal Emery, LLP (New York, NY).

Chen Guangcheng is an activist from the People's Republic of China, and is considered China's "most famous dissident." Mr. Chen is a self-taught lawyer best known for his fight against forced abortions and sterilizations under China's One Child Policy. Consequently, he spent four years in prison, followed by a year and a half on house arrest during which time he and his wife were routinely beaten. After escaping house arrest, he sought refuge at the U.S. Embassy sparking a diplomatic standoff between the U.S. and China, resulting in Mr. Chen and his family being granted permission to come to the U.S. on a visa to study at New York University. Due to scheduling conflicts, Mr. Chen could not attend the 2012 LCA Fall Conference & Induction of Fellows at The Breakers in Palm Beach, so the award will be presented to him in New York.

The Litigation Counsel of America's Justice Janie L. Shores Trailblazer Award is sponsored by the law firm of Cunningham Bounds of Mobile, Alabama, and is presented annually to a person whose lifetime achievements in the law serve as the beacon of high standards that all should aspire to follow. Emphasis is placed on efforts and acts within the legal profession that are cutting-edge in the advancement of justice. Chen Guangcheng personifies the spirit of this award through his advocacy of women's rights, championing the welfare of the poor, and exposure of the Chinese government's family planning practices. The award is named after Alabama's first elected female Supreme Court Justice, Janie L. Shores, whose progressive and timely positions on behalf of women and minorities in the Deep South reflect the spirit of the award.

The Litigation Counsel of America is a trial lawyer honorary society composed of less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers. Fellowship in the LCA is highly selective and by invitation only. Fellows are selected based upon excellence and accomplishment in litigation, both at the trial and appellate levels, and superior ethical reputation. The LCA is aggressively diverse in its composition. Established as a trial and appellate lawyer honorary society reflecting the American bar in the twenty-first century, the LCA represents the best in law among its membership. The number of Fellowships has been kept at an exclusive limit by design, allowing qualifications, diversity and inclusion to align effectively.