The American Board of Trial Advocates recently presented its highest honor — the ABOTA Lifetime Achievement Award — to Wright Lindsey Jennings partner and former ABOTA National President Gordon S. Rather, Jr., at the organization’s National Board of Directors Meeting in San Francisco.
Rather’s 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.
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, 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, 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.
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 Rather with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Jones received the award in 2009.
“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,” Jones said. “He is organized to the greatest extent and has helped ABOTA in any way possible.”
Joel W. Collins, Jr., 2015 National President, commented that, “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.”
Rather has been engaged in active trial practice for more than 40 years. Year after year, he has been known as one of the state’s most effective trial lawyers. Clients have characterized him as a “great trial lawyer,” who is “in touch with every detail of a case” in addition to being “thorough and extremely good with juries.” His practice centers on litigation, including complex commercial issues, product liability defense, toxic torts, admiralty and maritime matters, class actions and insurance defense.