News Release

Theodore V. Wells, Jr. Receives Lifetime Achievement Award from the Nation's Criminal Defense Bar

New York, NY (April 25, 2018) — At the Foundation for Criminal Justice (FCJ) Gala celebrating the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) at 60 Years on April 20, 2018, in New York City, NACDL presented its Lifetime Achievement Award to Theodore V. Wells, Jr. NACDL’s Lifetime Achievement Awards are presented in recognition of exceptional accomplishments over a lifetime of distinguished leadership and service on behalf of the law.

Wells co-chairs the Litigation Department at Paul, Weiss and is widely recognized as one of the best trial lawyers in America. The National Law Journal named him one of “The Decade’s Most Influential Lawyers” in 2010 and “Lawyer of the Year” in 2006. Recently, in 2017, Wells was named a recipient for the New York Law Journal’s “Lifetime Achievement” award.

“It is a tremendous honor to present Ted Wells with NACDL’s Lifetime Achievement Award,” said FCJ President and NACDL Past President Gerald B. Lefcourt. “Ted is masterful, tenacious, a fighter, and a gentleman, all in one. Indeed, Ted’s lifetime of achievement has inured to the benefit of countless clients, the bar, and indeed the law itself.”

Wells is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He has served as co-chair of the White-Collar Criminal Section of NACDL. He has been a faculty member of the Practising Law Institute Trial Advocacy Program, a teaching team member of the Harvard Law School Trial Advocacy Workshop, and a lecturer at the Securities Regulation Institute. He has lectured on the use and scope of the RICO statute, the defense of securities, healthcare and environmental criminal and civil matters, federal grand jury procedures, and federal sentencing guidelines.

NACDL President Rick Jones said: “Ted Wells has been a supporter of the NACDL for decades and we couldn’t be prouder to honor a lifetime of accomplishments and contributions for a man that has been such a pillar of American trial practice. Ted’s skill in the courtroom is rare, but so too is his commitment to social justice causes in our communities.”

Active in social, political, and community affairs, Wells served as national treasurer for Senator Bill Bradley's presidential campaign and is the chairman emeritus of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Board of Directors. He previously served, on a pro bono basis, as general counsel to the New Jersey NAACP, New Jersey co-chairperson of the United Negro College Fund, and general counsel to the New Jersey Democratic Party. Wells is a Fellow of the Harvard Corporation, the governing body of Harvard University.

Wells received his B.A. from College of the Holy Cross, M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, and J.D. from Harvard Law School.

To see past recipients of NACDL's Lifetime Achievement Award, please visit

The 2018 Foundation for Criminal Justice Gala Celebrating NACDL at 60 was sponsored in part by Diamond Jubilee Champion Paul, Weiss; and Champions of Liberty Greenberg Traurig, Kramer Levin, Skadden, and Winston & Strawn.

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Ian Nawalinski, NACDL Public Affairs & Communications Assistant, (202) 465-7624 or 

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.