Chicago (IL) – Bill Gates watched his father Bill Gates as he received the country’s most prestigious legal award at a ceremony in Chicago yesterday. The American Bar Association (ABA) gave Gates Sr, the award to highlight his “pro bono” work over the course of 48 years.
Bill Gates Jr. may be the overall more public figure in the Gates family, but his father Bill H. Gates is a widely known and respected personality in the legal world. He is the founder of K&L Gates, a law firm that employs more than 1800 lawyers in 32 offices on three continents. Gates Sr. retired in 1998 after 48 years of work.
Yesterday he received the ABA’s top honor, the ABA medal, which he modestly accepted. “I spent a number of years in this hall as a delegate,” the elder Gates said. “I am in awe of the men and women who have been honored with this medal before me … Oliver Wendell Homes, Thurgood Marshall, Sandra Day O’Connor. … I take some pride in what I’ve accomplished as a lawyer, but I’m not altogether convinced I belong in this group.”
Of course, the ABA saw that a bit different. “Bill Gates is a shining star of the legal profession and a living testament to the power of public service,” ABA president Thomas Wells said. Wells pointed out Gates’ pro-bono work over the years as an example of his accomplishments.