Harry H. Schneider, Jr., a widely respected trial lawyer from the law firm of Perkins Coie in Seattle, Washington, has been selected to receive the American Inns of Court's 2009 Professionalism Award for the Ninth Circuit. The award will be presented at the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference on July 22, 2009, by the Honorable Mary M. Schroeder, former Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and a former national trustee of the American Inns of Court.
The Ninth Circuit Professionalism Award is presented to honor a senior practicing judge or lawyer whose life and practice display sterling character and unquestioned integrity, coupled with ongoing dedication to the highest standards of the legal profession. Candidates are nominated through circuit-wide open nominations and selected by a distinguished panel of judges and representatives from the American Inns of Court.
Mr. Schneider is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and received his law degree from the University of Chicago Law School. During his thirty years at Perkins Coie, he has demonstrated repeatedly his skills as a trial lawyer and as a "lawyer's lawyer". Although his recent focus has been on intellectual property litigation, over the years he has been lead counsel in a wide range of cases -- from major securities litigation to contract fraud, professional liability defense, and trust and estate actions. For the past five years, Mr. Schneider has been in the middle of one of the nation's most visible and high profile cases -- the defense of Guantanamo detainee Salim Hamdan, widely known as Osama bin Laden's driver. The case went to the United States Supreme Court in 2006 and resulted in a decision that has been described as the single most important case in American history on the limits of Presidential authority, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. The Hamdan case also was the first and, so far, the only contested trial of a Guantanamo detainee and it also was the first War Crimes trial of an alleged enemy conducted by the United States government since World War II. After the much publicized trial last summer, a military commission found Hamdan guilty of material support of terror, but acquitted him of the much more serious charge of conspiracy to engage in terrorist acts. The jury of senior U.S. military officers sentenced Mr. Hamdan to serve only five additional months of confinement, as opposed to the life sentence sought by the government. After the case was completed, the head of the prosecution team at the Department of Defense complimented Schneider's work, citing his leadership and integrity and his "tone of civility and candor" throughout the proceedings.
A superb role model and mentor, Mr. Schneider has been actively involved in matters of professional responsibility throughout his career. He has served as Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Lawyers' Professional Liability, and has written and spoken extensively on issues of professionalism, professional liability, and ethics in the legal profession. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Attorneys' Liability Assurance Society, Ltd. ("ALAS"), a mutually owned insurer of large law firms.
The American Inns of Court Foundation, America's oldest, largest and fastest growing mentoring organization, presents Professionalism Awards at participating circuits nationwide. The awards are underwritten in part by Thomson-Reuters.
The American Inns of Court includes over 26,000 federal, state and local judges, lawyers, law professors and law students in over 350 chapters across the United States. Additionally, there are over 80,000 alumni members. More information is available at www.innsofcourt.org.