Wabash honors ACLU of Indiana’s Ken Falk for legal service

Described as having set “high standards of excellence for all lawyers in Indiana,” Ken Falk, legal director for the ACLU of Indiana, is being honored Monday by Wabash College for his decades of legal service.

Falk has been named the 2016 recipient of the college’s David W. Peck Senior Medal for Eminence in the Law. The award was established by 1924 Wabash alumnus John Collett to honor of his fraternity brother Judge David W. Peck who practiced for many years at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York and served on the bench in Manhattan and the Bronx.

As part of the honor, Falk will visit the campus and deliver a lecture – “The Law as a Shield and a Sword: An Advocate’s Perspective,” – at 5 p.m. Monday in Baxter Hall, Room 101. He will receive the Peck Medal at the 43rd annual Peck Dinner, which will follow the lecture.
“Ken Falk has modeled legal service at the highest level for decades,” said Wabash College President Gregory Hess. “Mr. Falk provides a great role model for our students about how to think critically and act humanely in a difficult world.”

A Columbia University law graduate, Falk was recruited to come to the Hoosier state in 1977 to work at Indiana Legal Services Inc. He rose to the position of director of litigation before leaving in 1996 to join the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana. For the past 20 years, Falk has advocated for civil rights and civil liberties at the ACLU while being credited with maintaining the highest level of civility despite the often divisive nature of those cases.

Among those applauding Falk’s legal demeanor is Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher who opposed Falk in 2014 during Indiana’s landmark same-sex marriage battle.  

“In an era of decreasing civility in both litigation and public discourse, Ken Falk’s legendary legal career provides inspiration for those who value honest and even-tempered debate over inflammatory sound bites,” said Fisher, a 1991 Wabash graduate. “Mr. Falk’s commitment to clients is matched by his professionalism with opposing counsel and the judiciary. Through scholarly and civil advocacy at all levels, Mr. Falk has set high standards of excellence for all lawyers in Indiana.”

Past recipients of the honor include William D. Ruckelshaus (1976), Paul H. Buchannan Jr. (1980), Sarah Evans Barker (1989) and Theodore Boehm (2005).

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