The American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession recognized Judge Lora Livingston and Richard Pena as two of its five recipients of the Spirit of Excellence Award. The two will be presented with the award during the ABA Midyear Meeting in Austin on February 15, 2020.

The Spirit of Excellence Award recognizes the efforts of lawyers who promote racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession.

“One of the ABA’s preeminent goals is eliminating bias and enhancing diversity in the legal profession and in our justice system,” Helen Kim, chair of commission, said in a press release. “These five honorees have distinguished themselves in various spheres of the profession—academia, corporate America, private practice, public services, and the judiciary. Each one of them has fully embraced and championed diversity and inclusion and each of them has helped provide opportunities for others while distinguishing themselves in their own legal careers.”

Livingston, who is a judge in the Travis County Civil District Court, was similarly recognized in 2016 by the Austin Bar Association and Austin Bar Foundation, which presented her with the inaugural Joseph C. Parker Jr. Diversity Award.

Pena, president and CEO of the Law Office of Richard Pena in Austin, was the first Hispanic to serve as president of State Bar of Texas (1998-1999). He also served as president of the American Bar Foundation and was on the American Bar Association Board of Governors. Pena received the Distinguished Lawyer Award from the Austin Bar Association in 2007, as well as the Joseph C. Parker Jr. Diversity Award from the Austin Bar Foundation in 2018.

The ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession “promotes the recruitment, hiring, promotion, and advancement of attorneys of color and works to ensure equal membership and employment opportunities for diverse lawyers in the ABA. The commission accomplishes all this through many initiatives, activities, and programs, including the annual Spirit of Excellence Award.

For more information on the commission and award, go to