8 February 2013
Los Angeles – Michael (Mickey) Kantor, a partner in the Los Angeles office of global law firm Mayer Brown and a former US Secretary of Commerce and US Trade Representative under President Bill Clinton, was awarded the Civic Medal of Honor by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce at its 125th Anniversary Inaugural Dinner.
The Civic Medal of Honor has been awarded annually since 2003 to an individual or individuals for extraordinary, non-elected civic leadership and community and public service over a sustained period of time. The award honors the concept of citizenship as well as the critical importance of community engagement in a democratic society. The selection is made by a group of distinguished citizens and past honorees.
“Throughout his long and distinguished career in public service, Mickey Kantor has exhibited uncommon wisdom, exceptional skill and unwavering commitment to the interests of the citizens of this city, California and the nation,” said George Kieffer, chair of the Civic Medal of Honor Selection Committee and a former chair of the Los Angeles Greater Chamber of Commerce. “Mickey exemplifies the attributes this award was created to recognize, and he is a most deserving honoree.”
Commenting via video, President Clinton said, “I was honored to have Mickey in my administration, not only because I knew him and trusted him, but because of his extraordinary gifts in public service. His commitment to service runs far and deep ... I really think he may well be the most effective trade ambassador our country has ever had.”
In accepting the award, Mr. Kantor said, “Public service has been my passion and my privilege, and I am grateful to the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce for this great honor.”
Previous recipients of the Civic Medal of Honor are: Harold M. Williams (2012); Barry A. Sanders (2011); Stewart Kwoh (2010); Thomas V. McKernan (2009); Father Gregory J. Boyle, S.J. (2008); Richard Riordan and Nancy Daly Riordan (2007); Sherry Lansing (2006); John Mack (2005); Eli Broad (2004) and Warren Christopher (2003).
At Mayer Brown, Mr. Kantor concentrates his practice on corporate and financial international transactions. He has extensive experience in market access issues as well as the expansion of client activities in foreign markets through trade, direct investment, joint ventures and strategic business alliances.
Prior to joining Mayer Brown, Mr. Kantor was the United States Secretary of Commerce (1996-97) and the United States Trade Representative (1993-96). He has been called “arguably the finest trade negotiator in the world” (Chambers Global 2006) and is said to be “blessed with fantastic political insights and connections” (Chambers USA 2007).
Among the many awards and honors Mr. Kantor has received are the following: the Order of the Southern Cross Award by the Government of Brazil, 2001; the William O. Douglas Award by the Constitutional Rights Foundation; the Thomas Jefferson Distinguished Public Service Medal from the Center for the Study of the Presidency; the Albert Schweitzer Leadership Award from the Hugh O’Brien Youth Foundation; and the Elihu Root Distinguished Lecturer, Council on Foreign Relations.