Finest General Counsels Announced by Burton Awards Program


April 30, 2014

New York, New York: The Burton Awards Program, held in association with the Library of Congress, announced this years’ award-winning general counsels. The winners, known as “Legends in Law,” were selected based upon the following criteria: reputation in the legal profession; demonstrated competence in a specialized area of law; extensive background and experience; complexity and scope of matters handled; success in global or national issues; and exemplary leadership in law. The awarded general counsels were chosen from nominations received from managing partners of the nation’s 1,000 largest law firms. This year marks the fifteenth anniversary of the non-profit program, which will be held on June 9, 2014 at the Library of Congress.

Thomas L. Sager, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at DuPont Legal, and Les Parrette, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Compliance Officer at Novelis Inc., co-chair of the Legends in Law Committee, stated: “We are fortunate to honor such dynamic leaders in law. They are the finest examples of general counsel and truly warrant this special recognition.”

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who has served as president of the Republican Attorneys General Association, will speak at a special luncheon for the award winners.

The following general counsels will be honored for their exceptional careers in law:

Kellye Walker
Chief Administrative Officer, General Counsel and Secretary
American Water Works Company, Inc.
Nominated by Littler Mendelson P.C.

Jane C. Sherburne
Senior Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
BNY Mellon
Nominated by Mayer Brown JSM/Mayer Brown

James B. Buda
Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer
Caterpillar, Inc. 
Nominated by Mayer Brown LLP

R. Stanton Dodge
Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary
DISH Network L.L.C.
Nominated by Dickstein Shapiro LLP

Jack C. Silhavy
Executive Vice President and General Counsel
Fresenious Kabi USA
Nominated by Morrison & Foerster LLP

Leslie M. Turner
Senior Vice President General Counsel and Secretary
The Hershey Company
Nominated by Kaye Scholer LLP

Kim Rucker 
Executive Vice President, Corporate and Legal Affairs, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
Kraft Foods Group, Inc.
Nominated by Sidley Austin LLP

David F. Snively
Executive Vice President, Secretary and General Counsel
Monsanto Company
Nominated by Husch Blackwell LLP

Marianne D. Short
Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer
UnitedHealth Group (NYS: UNH)
Nominated by Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP

Don H. Liu
General Counsel and Secretary
Xerox Corporation
Nominated by Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP


The Burton Awards, established in 1999, is funded by the Burton Foundation, a non-profit, academic effort devoted to recognizing and rewarding excellence in the legal profession. The Burton Awards honors the finest accomplishments in law, including writing, reform, public service and interest, regulatory innovation, and lifetime achievements in the profession. The honorary and distinguished members of the Burton Awards Board of Directors include the following leaders in law: Judge Richard Posner, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit; Chief Alex Kozinski, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge for the 9th Circuit; Judith Kaye, former Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals (retired); John Cornyn, United States Senator; Robert P. Casey, Jr., United States Senator; Mike Crapo, United States Senator; Spencer Bachus, United States Congressman; Thomas L. Sager, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company; Keith C. Wetmore, Chair Emeritus, Morrison & Foerster LLP; Dennis Smith, former State Senator and member of the Missouri Judiciary Committee, Missouri Legislature; and Stephen R. Mysliwiec, Partner, DLA Piper.


This prominent institution is one of the most celebrated and distinguished libraries in the world. It was established on April 24, 1800, and since that time it has grown to become one of the largest repositories in history. The Library of Congress functions as both a national library and as the research arm of the U.S. Congress. It contains more than 32 million catalogued books and more than 62 million manuscripts.

WILLIAM C. BURTON, ESQ., Founder and Chair

The Founder and Chair of The Burton Awards for Legal Achievement is William C. Burton, Esq., a partner at the law firm of Sagat|Burton LLP. He is a former New York State Assistant Attorney General, a former New York State Assistant Special Prosecutor, and is the author of the first legal thesaurus ever written for the legal profession, entitled BURTON’S LEGAL THESAURUS. The book is now in its 5th edition and quickly approaching its 35th anniversary. When the book was released, the Association of American Publishers recognized it as “one of the Most Innovative and Creative Projects of the year.” In 2011, Mr. Burton was presented the highest honor given by the second largest association of law professors in America, The Legal Writing Institute, for “significantly advancing the cause of legal writing in the profession of law.” More recently, he was awarded the “Blackstone Award” by the Friends of the Law Library of Congress, for “embodying and promoting the best ideals of the institution.”