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‘Death of American Virtue’ Wins ABA Gavel Award for Law School Dean

Duquesne University School of Law Dean Ken Gormley has received one of the prestigious 2011 American Bar Association (ABA) Gavel Awards for his book, The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr, earning the honorable mention designation (second place) in the book category.

The ABA Gavel Awards, established in 1958, recognize products in the media and the arts that are exemplary in fostering the American public’s understanding of the law and the legal system. The awards are highly selective, with only six silver gavel and two honorable mentions being awarded this year from among nearly 200 entries in the categories of books, newspapers, documentaries, radio, magazines and television.

“The ABA Gavel Awards are the most coveted for any lawyer who takes the plunge and decides to lead a ‘double-life’ as an author,” explains Gormley. “These awards are considered the most prestigious in the legal business. It is both humbling and exciting, after nine years of working on The Death of American Virtue, to learn that it has received this special honor.”

The Death of American Virtue, first released in February 2010 by Crown Publishing Group, focuses on the scandal that marred the term of President Bill Clinton, who was acquitted but remains the second U.S. president to be impeached. Gormley’s scores of interviews for the book included high-profile figures such as Clinton, Kenneth Starr, Monica Lewinsky, Linda Tripp and Janet Reno.

“Writing a book about the Clinton-Starr battles, which divided the nation so terribly, was a dicey undertaking,” says Gormley. “Many friends thought I was crazy for choosing this topic, because one side or another was sure to attack me as an imbalanced zealot when I was finished. I worked hard to tell the story fairly, so that it would make a real contribution to American history.”

The Death of American Virtue, which reached #26 on The New York Times Bestseller List, continues to attract national attention and was released in paperback in February. In addition to receiving glowing reviews, the book was selected by the Washington Post as one of the Best 10 Books of 2010 and received the Bruce K. Gould Book Award for best book relating to the law from the Touro Law School in New York.

“I am deeply touched that the American Bar Association has included my book among its award-winners this year,” adds Gormley.

A resident of Forest Hills, Gormley is the author of Archibald Cox: Conscience of a Nation, an award-winning book about the principled Watergate special prosecutor who stood up to President Richard M. Nixon. His work and opinion pieces have appeared in newspapers across the country. Gormley is an expert in constitutional law, state constitutional law, the First Amendment and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a highly sought after speaker, who has testified three times before the United States Senate. A past president of the Allegheny County Bar Association, Gormley holds a B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.