Gordon Rather Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

ABOTA presents Lifetime Achievement Award to Arkansas lawyer Gordon S. Rather, Jr.
1996 National President honored at National Board Meeting with organization’s highest honor

SAN FRANCISCO (May 2, 2015) — The American Board of Trial Advocates presented its highest honor --the ABOTA Lifetime Achievement Award -- to former ABOTA National President Gordon S. Rather, Jr., at the organization’s National Board of Directors Meeting.

Mr. Rather is a longtime ABOTA member and Little Rock, Ark., lawyer. His ABOTA career began in 1981 when he was admitted into the invitation-only association. He is a past president of the Arkansas Chapter, and he served as National President of ABOTA in 1996.

Mr. Rather has been a fixture within ABOTA and has served as chair or co-chair of numerous committees. He has served on ABOTA’s Executive Committee multiple times and was the first chair of ABOTA’s Presidential Task Force, formed in 2010. He was also the first recipient of the ABOTA Foundation’s Mark P. Robinson Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. In 2010, Mr. Rather served as one of the first faculty members of the inaugural ABOTA National Trial College, held on the campus of Princeton University and later at Harvard Law School in 2012 and 2014.

In ABOTA’s 57-year history, Mr. Rather joins only seven others who have received the ABOTA Lifetime Achievement Award honoring an individual whose leadership efforts have advanced the preservation of the right to trial by jury guaranteed by the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. As the eighth recipient of the award, he joins Mark P. Robinson (2001), the Hon. William J. Rea (2002), Kermit J. Morgan (2004), Robert D. Barbagelata (2004), H. Gilbert Jones (2009), Ronald H. Rouda (2011) and Patrick C. Simek (2013) as award recipients.

Mr. Rather is the only person to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from National ABOTA and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the ABOTA Foundation.

H. Gilbert Jones, ABOTA’s 1989 National President, presented Mr. Rather with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Mr. Jones is the 2009 recipient of this award presented to him at the same location, the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco.

“Gordon Rather is one of our great leaders of ABOTA. He is one the most efficient, thorough, forward-thinking, committed leaders ABOTA has ever had,” Mr. Jones said. “He is organized to the greatest extent and has helped ABOTA in anyway possible.”

Mr. Jones said, “Gordon, throughout the last quarter century, has answered every call and has always been ready to take on any job for the good of ABOTA.” Mr. Jones added that many of Mr. Rather’s closest friends address him as “Squire Rather,” which honors his sense of service and is an endearing term for those who recognize him as a leader. He also praised Mr. Rather’s wife, Hayden, who is equally enthusiastic and supportive of his efforts and added that their mutual support of ABOTA is unparalleled.

Joel W. Collins, Jr., 2015 National President, described Mr. Rather as an individual who continues to support ABOTA even after completing his term as national president at the conclusion of 1996. “Gordon’s commitment to the organization is proven over and over by those around him who respect and admire his inspiring, hard working example of leadership.” Mr. Collins further described Mr. Rather’s meticulous eye for detail, which served him so well when he chaired ABOTA’s Editorial Board for a number of years.

ABOTA’s highest honor was presented to a recipient who had not been informed that he was receiving the award.  Mr. Rather described his amazement and high regard for ABOTA.

“You cannot imagine how incredibly touched I am by receiving this award,” Mr. Rather said. “Hayden and I regard ABOTA as our family. We are profoundly grateful, a thousand times over.”

Firm:  Wright, Lindsey & Jennings LLP, Little Rock, Ark.
Admitted to Practice: Arkansas 1968; United States District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas; United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit; Supreme Court of the United States.

Education: Vanderbilt University (B.A. 1961, cum laude), Phi Beta Kappa; Duke University (J.D. 1968).

Military:  Lieutenant, U.S. Navy (1961-65).

Professional Affiliations: American Board of Trial Advocates (National President 1996; National Board of Directors, 1989-present; President, Arkansas Chapter, 1987-88); American College of Trial Lawyers (Fellow); International Academy of Trial Lawyers (Fellow and State Chair); Arkansas Association of Defense Counsel; Defense Research Institute; Maritime Law Association of the United States (Proctor); American Bar Association (Litigation Section); Arkansas Bar Association; Pulaski County Bar Association; Arkansas Bar Foundation (Fellow); Arkansas Chapter of The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation; Henry Woods Inn of Court (Member Emeritus).

Honors: The Best Lawyers in America (in five litigation categories); Chambers USA, America's Leading Lawyers for Business (ranked first in litigation);  Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America; International Who’s Who for Product Liability Defense; Mid-South Super Lawyers; 1994 Masters in Trial Award (Foundation of ABOTA); 2000 Outstanding Lawyer Award (Pulaski County Bar Association); 2006 Outstanding Lawyer Award (Arkansas Bar Association).

CUTLINE:  Gordon S. Rather, Jr., receives the Lifetime Achievement Award from National President Joel W. Collins, Jr., of the American Board of Trial Advocates.