When Larry Thompson received the National Law Journal’s lifetime achievement award in October, he focused on his colleagues and mentors over the years, the people who had helped make his trailblazing legal career possible.

Thompson has served a variety of roles over a career spanning 47 years: U.S. attorney, defense attorney at King & Spalding, where he was the first Black partner, deputy attorney general, general counsel at PepsiCo. and, finally, law professor at the University of Georgia and of counsel at the Atlanta-based firm Finch McCranie.