March 7, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The American Board of Trial Advocates will honor Doris Cheng and Nathaniel S. Colley Sr. with the Champion of Justice Awards on May 14, 2022, in Chicago.

The Champion of Justice Award recognizes those who advance ABOTA’s overall purposes of the preservation and promotion of the civil jury trial. The award recipients have demonstrated through word and action an ongoing, strong, and exceptional commitment to trial by jury. Their impact was noted for improving the ethical and technical standards in the practice of law, educating students and the public, advancing fair and diverse juries, and preserving the quality and independence of the judiciary.

Lewis R. Sifford, ABOTA National President, said the Champion of Justice Awards recognize those who believe that America’s jury system is the one system which guarantees necessary safeguards for the protection of the rights of persons and property.

“It is important to recognize lawyers who have combined skill and integrity, and are committed to education and steadfastly stand by our jury system,” Mr. Sifford said. “We are honored by the active work of Doris Cheng and the legacy built by Nathaniel Colley.”

Doris Cheng, an ABOTA National Board Representative from the San Francisco Chapter, is being recognized for her achievements in advancing the rule of law and trial by jury through serving as a chair or faculty member for a number of legal education programs nationally and internationally. She has directed legal training programs in association with the U.S. Department of Justice Overseas Prosecutorial Development and Training and National Center for State Courts. She has served as a lead trial skills training director in support of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative created under the Obama administration. She created the first trial skills program in San Francisco to promote women trial lawyers as first chair in civil jury trials. In addition to being widely recognized for her legal work in consumer protection cases, she has served as the president of the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association (2015), the Bar Association of San Francisco and Justice & Diversity Center (2019), and the San Francisco ABOTA Chapter (2020). Ms. Cheng is a shareholder of Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger in San Francisco.

“I cannot think of a more fitting nominee to receive the first Champion of Justice Award,” said Lewis R. Sifford, 2022 ABOTA National President. “Doris Cheng is an extremely accomplished trial lawyer and has served ABOTA and the Seventh Amendment tirelessly and passionately. She is much deserving of this honor.”

The Champion of Justice Award will also be presented posthumously to the late Nathaniel S. Colley Sr. who fought against housing and educational discrimination in California. He served as Chairman of both the West Coast Region and the National Legal Committee for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Furthermore, Governor Edmund “Pat” Brown appointed Colley to the California State Board of Education in 1960, making him the first African American to serve on the board. Between 1961 and 1962, Colley sat on President John F. Kennedy’s Committee on Discrimination for the U.S. Armed Forces.

He was a professor at the McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific in Sacramento where he taught with Anthony Kennedy. He also testified before Congress about Justice Kennedy when he was nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court. He served in the U.S. Army in World War II. After the war he was rejected by the University of Alabama Law School because he was black, earning his degree at Yale University instead, winning the C. LaRue Munsun Prize for the most significant contribution of any Yale student to the New Haven, Connecticut Legal Aid Society.

Nat Colley was renowned in his community for his brilliance in the law and his standing up for the underprivileged in his community,” said Daniel E. Wilcoxen, ABOTA National Board Representative from the Sacramento Valley Chapter. Mr. Wilcoxen and Mr. Walter Loving nominated Mr. Colley for the Champion of Justice Award after knowing him and practicing law with him.

“Mr. Colley was a civil rights titan. He epitomizes the award in every way,” said Luther J. Battiste III, 2020 ABOTA National President.

Nathaniel Colley passed away on May 20, 1992, at his home in Elk Grove, California. He was 74 years old.

ABOTA will hold the annual awards dinner on May 14 at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago. Along with the Champion of Justice Awards the Awards Committee will announce the winners of the Chapter of the Year Awards. The finalists are:

Large Chapter Finalists

  • East Texas Chapter
  • Orange County Chapter
  • San Antonio Chapter

Small Chapter Finalists

  • Georgia Chapter
  • Tallahassee Chapter
  • Wisconsin Chapter

About the American Board of Trial Advocates
ABOTA is an invitation-only national association of 7,300 experienced trial lawyers and judges dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees the right to civil jury trials. ABOTA’s primary goal is to educate the American public about the history and value of the right to trial by jury, and ABOTA is dedicated to elevating the standards of skill, integrity, honor, and courtesy in the legal profession.

For more information contact:
Brian Tyson at (800) 932-2682 

SOURCE American Board of Trial Advocates