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|CWL's Prestigous Fay Stender Award|
CWL established the Fay Stender Award in 1982 in honor of Fay Stender, a Bay Area attorney who spent much of her professional life fighting for prisoners' rights.
Fay Abrahams Stender was born in Berkeley in 1932, the third generation of her mother's family to be born in the Bay Area. She attended Reed College and graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a major in English Literature, going on to receive a law degree from the University of Chicago in 1956.
After clerking for Associate Justice John W. Shenk, California Supreme Court, Ms. Stender associated with criminal defense attorney Charles Garry, where, over the next ten years, she founded the Prison Law Project and represented a number of prisoners, including George Jackson, whose prison letters were published in 1970 as Soledad Brother. She was also active in professional organizations on the national, state and local levels. She was a member of CWL's first elected board, and even after leaving the board remained actively involved in the organization's work. Fay chaired CWL's Joint Custody Project, and served on the advisory Committee of the Women's Litigation Unit. She also chaired the San Francisco Bar Association's Employment of Women Committee, and served on the charter board of Equal Rights Advocates' Lesbian Rights Project.
In the early morning hours of Memorial Day, 1979, Fay was shot five times by an intruder who falsely accused her of betraying George Jackson. Gravely injured and seriously disabled, she took her life one year later. She was survived by her mother, sister, husband, two children, and by numerous friends and colleagues.
Throughout her life, Fay undertook unpopular causes and worked with under-represented groups and individuals. Her tenacity, creativity, and compelling sense of justice were legendary, and her commitment, energy and integrity enriched all who were privileged to work with her.
The annual award is given to a feminist attorney, who, like Fay Stender, is committed to the representation of women, disadvantaged groups and unpopular causes, and whose courage, zest for life and demonstrated ability to effect change as a single individual makes her a role model for women attorneys.
Candidates for the award are judged on the basis of the following attributes which were characteristic of Fay Stender:
The Fay Stender award is presented annually at CWL's Annual Dinner.
Visit the CWL Awards page for nomination submission criteria.