University of Denver

IAALS Board Member Walter Sutton Honored by ABA with 2013 Spirit of Excellence Award

Associate Director of Communications

In February, the American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity presented IAALS board member Walter Sutton with the 2013 Spirit of Excellence Award, which celebrates the efforts and accomplishments of lawyers who work to promote a more racially and ethnically diverse legal profession. Sutton, who currently serves as associate general counsel for Wal-Mart, is a trailblazer in diversity and has transcended racial barriers throughout his career. He was the first African-American to work as a lawyer at both Tenneco Oil Co. and Texas Instruments; he was the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Dallas; and he was the first African-American to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's regional counsel's office in Dallas and the Dallas Environmental Health Advisory Committee. At Wal-Mart, Sutton is responsible for the development and coordination of diversity for its legal department. In the words of Reginald Turner, the chair of the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession:

Walter Sutton epitomizes the values advanced by the Spirit of Excellence Award. His illustrious career has led him all over the country, from corporations to schools to government roles and back. At every step, he has taken care to perform with professionalism, diligence, and collegiality, and to advocate for diversity and inclusion with tremendous effectiveness. Walter has secured his place in history as a champion of equal opportunities in our noble profession. He continues to mentor and inspire young lawyers and law students who are certain to follow in his path.

IAALS would like to thank Sutton for his continued service on our Board of Advisors and congratulate him on the receipt of this great honor.