John C. Cruden Wins Beatrice Rosenberg Award

By Jeffery Leon

April 6, 2017

John CrudenThe D.C. Bar has named John C. Cruden as the 2017 recipient of its Beatrice Rosenberg Award for Excellence in Government Service for his long history of public service in the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Army.

“It is a great honor—and a complete surprise—to have been selected for this prestigious award. I know many of the prior recipients, and it is truly humbling to be in their company. I have been fortunate in my career to have worked with a number of truly extraordinary public servants and I stand on their shoulders,” says Cruden.

The D.C. Bar established the award in honor of Rosenberg's tremendous accomplishments during her 35 years of service at the Department of Justice and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The annual award is presented to a Bar member who has demonstrated outstanding professional judgment throughout long-term government career, worked intentionally to share his or her expertise as a mentor to younger government lawyers, and devoted significant personal energies to public or community service.

Cruden began his public service as a member of the U.S. Army, serving in the Airborne, Ranger, and Special Forces units in Germany and Vietnam. After law school through the Army’s Judge Advocate General’s graduate course, he was assigned to numerous legal posts, including as a criminal prosecutor in Germany, a civil trial lawyer at the Pentagon, chief of the Litigation Branch in Europe, general counsel for the Defense Nuclear Agency, staff judge advocate in Germany, and director of administrative and civil law at the Judge Advocate General’s School. He eventually became the Army’s chief legislative counsel.

Following his service in the Army, Cruden joined the Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) of the Department of Justice. While there, he served in various capacities, including as chief of the Environmental Enforcement Section, deputy assistant attorney general, and from 2014 to 2017, as ENRD assistant attorney general.

Cruden is now president-elect of the American College of Environmental Lawyers.

Cruden was the first government attorney to be elected as president of the D.C. Bar (2005–2006) and as chair of the American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources. He has received the Presidential Rank Award from three different presidents, and has received the ABA’s Mary C. Lawton Award for Outstanding Government Achievement, in addition to several other professional and military awards.

The award will be presented on June 14 at the Celebration of Leadership: The D.C. Bar Awards Dinner and Annual Meeting at the Mayflower Hotel, located at 1127 Connecticut Avenue NW.