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Four NRDC Co-founders To Receive YLSA Award of Merit

Four environmental leaders and co-founders of the Natural Resources Defense Council have been selected to receive Yale Law School’s highest honor. James Gustave Speth ’69, Richard Ayres ’69, Edward Strohbehn Jr. ’69, and John Bryson ’69 will be presented with the Yale Law School Association Award of Merit during Alumni Weekend 2010, October 8-10 at Yale Law School.

The four were cited for their pioneering role in creating the NRDC in 1970 and helping to write, along with other NRDC lawyers, some of America’s bedrock environmental laws. Today, the NRDC is one of the nation’s most influential environmental organizations.

“Your achievement in creating the NRDC is overwhelming in its elegance, force and consequences,” Yale Law School Dean Robert Post ’77 told the recipients. “In the course of its stellar history, NRDC has affected legislation and judicial decision-making in all areas of environmental law. It has influenced research, policy analysis, litigation, lobbying and education. Each of you has enjoyed an extraordinary career in environmental law.”

Speth, who will join the faculty of Vermont Law School in July, served as dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies from 1999 to 2009. Richard Ayres is principal of the Ayres Law Group in Washington and a widely respected authority on environmental issues, particularly the Clean Air Act. Strohbehn is an environmental attorney with Bingham and a member of the Leadership Council of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Bryson is a senior advisor with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and former chairman, president, and CEO of Edison International.

Since 1957, the Yale Law School alumni have presented the Award of Merit annually to esteemed Yale Law School graduates or faculty members who have made a substantial contribution to public service or to the legal profession. Previous recipients include former Yale Law School dean Harold Koh, former presidents Gerald Ford ’41 and William J. Clinton ’73, and District of Columbia congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton ’64.

Alumni Weekend 2010 will focus on the theme, “2010: A Weekend Odyssey Exploring Science and Law.” More information and online registration will be available on the Alumni Weekend website in the coming months.