Mary E. McLeod Wins Beatrice Rosenberg Award

March 17, 2016

The D.C. Bar has named Mary E. McLeod as the 2016 recipient of its Beatrice Rosenberg Award for Excellence in Government Service for her commitment to public service throughout her nearly 40-year career at the U.S. Department of State. McLeod will be presented the award on June 15 at the Bar's Celebration of Leadership.

"I am profoundly honored to receive this award. I want to express my deepest gratitude to and affection for my colleagues in the Office of the Legal Adviser whose intellect, collegiality, and creativity have sustained me throughout my career, and who labor endlessly to advance the foreign policy interests of the United States," said McLeod.

McLeod first joined the State Department in 1977, working as an attorney adviser in various capacities over the next several decades. Her portfolio is extensive, spanning many areas of law, including Near Eastern, East Asian and Pacific, East and Southeast Asia, and American regional affairs; political and military affairs; human rights and refugees; and employment law. She was legal adviser to the U.S. Mission at the United Nations from 2009 to 2010. She most recently served as acting legal adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser. 

In February of this year, McLeod became general counsel of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Katherine D. McManus, deputy legal adviser at the Office of the Legal Adviser, said McLeod's "entire career exemplifies public service," making her an ideal recipient of the Rosenberg Award.

"[S]he has helped advance international law's lofty ambitions of promoting international security, advancing fundamental human rights, and fostering social progress across the globe," said McManus in her nomination letter. "Her intelligence, integrity, and devotion to public service made her one of the most influential and respected members of the national security lawyers group" that advises on issues such as the use of force and compliance with human rights obligations.

Throughout her public service, McLeod has received many other honors, including two Presidential Rank Awards (for meritorious performance in 1985, and for distinguished performance in 2012) and numerous annual Executive Service Performance awards. In 2015 McLeod received the American Bar Association Section of International Law Award for Outstanding Performance by an International Lawyer in Government or an International Organization.

During her career McLeod was tapped by the Secretary of State and other leaders to provide counsel and legal advice on many of the national security issues facing our country, including international terrorism, global threats to the environment, and negotiating sensitive international agreements.

"I have seen how Mary's wisdom, insight, and poise have advanced our country's interests," said Bruce Swartz, deputy assistant attorney general and counselor for international affairs at the U.S. Department of Justice, in his letter recommending McLeod for the Rosenberg Award. "I can testify from first-hand experience that Mary's legal acumen is universally admired, not only within the U.S. Government, but by our foreign counterparts as well."

The D.C. Bar established the Rosenberg 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.