Sacramento County Bar Foundation Centennial Fellows are attorneys at the pinnacle of achievement who, through distinguished professional accomplishment, substantial civic involvement and philanthropy, have earned a legacy as pillars of the Sacramento legal community. As part of the Sacramento County Bar Association’s 100-year anniversary celebration, the Foundation has worked diligently to identify candidates to be recognized as Centennial Fellows. The following are attorneys suitable to be recognized as preeminent leaders in the community. All of these Fellows are members of the Sacramento County Bar Association.
Russell J. Austin is one of the founding partners of Murphy Austin Adams Schoenfeld LLP, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary on January 1, 2019, and served as the firm’s Managing Partner during its initial formation in 1999.
Throughout his career, Austin’s law practice has focused on commercial real estate, business, and corporate law. He counsels property owners, business owners, conservation organizations, nonprofits, and public agencies in real property, business formations, financings, and conservation easements. Austin firmly believes that attorneys do their best work when they build and sustain the trust and confidence of their clients, and most importantly, “do so with integrity and authenticity.”
“It is fitting that Russell has been selected for this honor at a time when the Sacramento legal services community is reflecting on and celebrating SCBA’s 100-year anniversary. Russell’s commitment to community is exemplary.”
Austin has earned numerous awards and honors over the years. Since his arrival in the Sacramento area, he has been active in a number of community service projects, starting with adjunct teaching at Pacific McGeorge and serving on the Board of Directors of the Barristers’ Club. From 1988 to 1992, Austin served as Chair of the Voluntary Legal Services Program (VLSP), and from 1989 to 1993, as President of Legal Services of Northern California.
During Austin’s term as VLSP’s President, he organized and led a task force comprised of SCBA and VLSP Committee members to help address VLSP’s funding needs. The task force report laid out several key findings in support of a proposed allocation of membership dues to VLSP. For this work, Austin received a President’s Pro Bono Service award from the California Bar in 1992, a Pro Bono Publico award from the American Bar Association in 1993, and was recognized by the SCBA as its Humanitarian of the Year in 1994.
Austin has served on the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and, in 2001, was honored as its Volunteer of the Year. He also served on the Crocker Art Museum’s Board of Directors from 2001 to 2008, and played a key role in the Museum’s $100 million dollar expansion. With the benefit of his work on a wide range of conservation projects, Austin served on the Board of Directors of the Sacramento Valley Conservancy from 2002 to 2010, including serving as President from 2004 to 2006.
In 2017, the SCBA recognized Austin as its Distinguished Attorney of the Year. Summing up Austin’s many contributions, Murphy Austin partner Blair Shahbazian expressed, “It is fitting that Russell has been selected for this honor at a time when the Sacramento legal services community is reflecting on and celebrating SCBA’s 100-year anniversary. Russell’s commitment to community is exemplary. The positive impact of his service will be felt in our region for generations to come.”