Orrick Partner Christina Von der Ahe Rayburn Honored With American Inns of Court Sandra Day O’Connor Award


Orrick partner Christina Von der Ahe Rayburn has been selected to receive the prestigious Sandra Day O’Connor Award for Professional Service by the American Inns of Court. The professional service honor is awarded each year to an American Inns of Court member with ten or fewer years in practice who demonstrates excellence in public interest or pro bono activities.

Christy, a member of the firm’s intellectual property group in our Orange County office, has involved herself extensively in pro bono work. She is currently lead counsel in a pro bono challenge to California’s Proposition 66, a ballot measure that sought to expedite the state’s death penalty appeals process. Led by Christy, an Orrick team filed a constitutional challenge to Proposition 66 the day after Election Day, arguing that the initiative is unconstitutional because it violates both the separation of powers doctrine and the equal protection clause.  As a result of the team’s briefing, the California Supreme Court decided earlier this year to put the proposition on hold pending a decision.

Christy argued the case to the state Supreme Court in June, and the Court is expected to rule this summer. Death Penalty Focus previously honored Christy and Orrick associate Lillian Mao for their work on the case.

In addition, Christy has provided pro bono assistance to an East Palo Alto legal services organization in housing discrimination cases; assisted immigrants in immigration court proceedings; represented a woman pro bono in a New York divorce case; and authored amicus briefs on Net Neutrality and the death penalty in the U.S. Supreme Court and before the Ninth Circuit.

“Clearly, in her short career Christy has selflessly dedicated herself to the needs of others, showing unsurpassed excellence in public service and pro bono activities,” wrote U.S. District Judge Andrew J. Guilford, for whom Christy formerly clerked.

Christy received the award at the annual American Inns of Court Celebration of Excellence at the U.S. Supreme Court on October 21, 2017. The event was hosted by was hosted by Justice Elena Kagan.

Orrick is ranked #9 for Pro Bono in the U.S. and #6 internationally by The American Lawyer.

Christy Von der Ahe Rayburn and Justice Elena Kagan