Fortune 500 Energy Services Holding Company Executive to Receive 2013 ABA Spirit of Excellence Award
CHICAGO, Nov. 20, 2012 — M. Javade Chaudhri, executive vice president and general counsel for Sempra Energy in San Diego, will receive the 2013 Spirit of Excellence Award from the _ Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession.
The award, which celebrates the accomplishments of lawyers who promote a more racially and ethnically diverse legal profession, will be presented Feb. 9 at the Hilton Anatole during the ABA Midyear Meeting in Dallas.
Chaudhri is the only South Asian American general counsel of a Fortune 500 company. A third-generation Kenyan of Indian descent, he came to the United States to attend Yale, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and biochemistry and a master’s degree in environmental sciences before attending law school at Georgetown.
He worked in private practice in Washington, D.C., for more than a decade before joining Gateway, where he rose to the position of general counsel before taking the helm of Sempra’s 80-lawyer legal department.
As chair of the National Asian Pacific _’s In-House Counsel Committee, Chaudhri has garnered praise for nurturing the next generation of Asian-American in-house lawyers and for promoting diversity by reaffirming to outside law firms the importance of diversity and holding them accountable for the diversity of their workforce.
Despite the demands of his job, Chaudhri is active in numerous civic, educational and charitable activities. In addition to serving on the international advisory board of the University of California International Relations and Pacific Studies School, he is a board member of the San Diego Zoo, the Institute of the Americas, and the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“Javade Chaudhri is truly deserving of the Spirit of Excellence Award,” said Reginald Turner, chair of the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession. “Early in his career, he would walk into boardrooms and encounter doubtful expressions on faces around the table. He knew that minorities have to overcome doubts and live up to higher standards. But he did not let that hold him back.”
“He faced those stereotypes and overcame them through hard work and professional excellence,” Turner added. “Today, he is not only a well-respected general counsel for a Fortune 500 company but also has a reputation for mentoring younger lawyers who face many of the same challenges.”
The mission of the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession is to promote racial and ethnic diversity and inclusion within the legal profession. It serves as a catalyst for change, so that the profession may more accurately reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of society, and better serve society. The Commission takes actions to promote the recruitment, hiring, promotion and advancement of attorneys of color, and works to ensure equal membership and employment opportunities for diverse lawyers in the _. The Commission accomplishes these goals through many initiatives, activities and programs, including the Spirit of Excellence Award.
With nearly 400,000 members, the _ is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.