In a year when Wall Street was reviled and government was considered part of the problem–and part of the solution–we were reminded of the need for lawyers with both brilliant legal skills and a higher calling. Our seven Lifetime Achievers fit that ideal. These six men and one woman combined careers in the private sector with longtime commitments to public service.

Our 2009 Lifetime Achievers have won landmark courtroom victories and advised on high-profile corporate spin-offs, among other notable accomplishments. For their pro bono clients, they’ve fought for ideals—protecting affirmative action policies in law school admissions, advancing the cause of women lawyers, and expanding the rights of the incarcerated. For the government, they’ve helped preserve critical programs and restored the reputations of troubled but critical agencies.

This year we also announce the winner of our inaugural Law Firm Distinguished Leader Award. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison’s Alfred Youngwood embodies the traits of a good leader. He’s smart, hardworking, and both client- and public service–oriented. Most importantly in this turbulent era, as chairman he presided over a firm that simultaneously hit new records for profitability and pro bono service. Throughout his nine-year tenure, he was always mindful of his firm’s core principles, and, as times changed, he made sure that Paul, Weiss hewed to those values.

Pictured above right: William Webster of Milbank

Dennis Archer Dickinson Wright

Joan Bernstein Bryan Cave

Benjamin Civiletti Venable

George Hettrick Hunton & Williams

Harry Reasoner Vinson & Elkins

William Webster Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy

Law Firm Distinguished Leader Award: Alfred Youngwood Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison