Lifetime Achievement Award
Anthony F. Essaye
Tony Essaye’s life and professional career have been both distinguished and eclectic. He was born in London, England, arriving in the United States at the age of six after the outbreak of World War II. He graduated from Georgetown University in 1955, where he was a member of the Boxing Club, and then served as an officer in the United States Infantry in Japan where he was on his unit’s football team. Thereafter, prudently deciding to forego formal athletic endeavors, he attended Harvard Law School, graduating in 1961.
Anthony F. Essaye
Early in his career, Tony signed on to the recently created Peace Corps, where he started as a member of the legal staff and quickly became Associate General Counsel and then Deputy General Counsel. This experience immersed him in the myriad of legal matters posed by the training and placement of some 16,000 Peace Corps volunteers around the world. One of his more challenging assignments was helping to defend a volunteer in criminal trial in Tanzania. His experience with the Peace Corps also influenced his desire, still some years in the future, to bring the spirit of global volunteerism to life through ISLP.
Tony returned to private practice with a strong international emphasis, eventually serving as Managing Partner of Rogers & Wells’ Paris office, where he practiced law as a Conseil Juridique. When he returned to Washington, he served for twenty years as Managing Partner of the firm's Washington office, contributing as one of the firm's Executive Committee members for a portion of that time. After Rogers & Wells merged with the British firm Clifford Chance, Tony became a partner in the combined firm until his 2002 retirement.
With that change on the horizon, Tony and Bob Kapp met for lunch one day in 2000 and conceptualized a worldwide corps of volunteer lawyers whose expertise could be used to help address the world’s most pressing problems. The two founded and became Co-Presidents of ISLP shortly thereafter.
Public interest activities are fundamental for Tony. He has provided legal assistance on various Democratic Presidential campaigns, starting in 1972 when he assisted Sargent Shriver, the former Director of the Peace Corps, in his Vice-Presidential campaign. Tony also helped to defend the The Washington Post in the infamous Pentagon Papers case. He has also been a devoted alumnus of Georgetown, serving as a Vice-President of the Alumni Association and returning to the campus gym as a coach in the undergraduate boxing club.
One volunteer role stands out as particularly illustrative of the deep ethical conviction that led to his co-founding ISLP. Tony Chaired the Jesuit order’s Woodstock Theological Center, then located at Georgetown University. This is a venue for theological and ethical reflection on the most pressing human issues of the day, drawing on the Roman Catholic tradition; ecumenically open, multi-disciplinary, and collaborative with, among others, the business community, government, religious groups, universities, other research centers, and the media.
Tony has shared many special gifts with ISLP, including his broad vision, his exemplary character and judgment, his inclusive nature, and his deep-seated commitment to justice. Tony and his lovely wife Eileen reside in Washington, DC. They have two children and two grandchildren.