Journalism alum Jill Wine-Banks receives 2023 Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award

Jill Wine-Banks (BS ’64, journalism), MSNBC legal analyst, author, podcast co-host, and former prosecutor at the U.S. Department of Justice, was one of five female lawyers to receive the 2023 Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award this summer.

The American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession established the award to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of women lawyers who have excelled in their field and have paved the way to success for other women lawyers.

“These five distinguished lawyers are role models for all women in the legal profession,” said Commission member Victoria Alvarez, co-chair of the Margaret Brent Awards committee.

Wine-Banks, who earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a law degree at Columbia Law School, was the first woman to serve as an organized crime prosecutor at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Less than five years later, she was named one of the three Assistant Watergate Special Prosecutors—and the only woman—for the obstruction of justice trial against President Nixon’s top aides. She became a major player in the Watergate tapes hearing that preceded the trial, cross-examining Rose Mary Woods, President Nixon’s secretary, about the 18 ½-minute gap in a key White House recording. 

Her legal career also includes service as the first female General Counsel of the U.S. Army where she helped integrate women into the Regulate Army by eliminating the Women’s Army Corps, and into West Point; as the first Solicitor General of Illinois where she argued in the U.S. Supreme Court and first female Deputy Attorney General; and as the executive vice president and chief operating officer of the American Bar Association, the only woman to have held that position. 

See press release.

Jill Wine-Banks