Montgomery, Ala., May 7, 2007 - Camille Wright Cook, dean emeritus of the University of Alabama School of Law, has been named recipient of the 2007 Maud McLure Kelly Award presented by the Women's Section of the Alabama State Bar. Cook will be honored at a luncheon on July 20 during the state bar's 129th annual meeting in Point Clear.
Mobile attorney Mary Margaret Bailey (Frazer, Greene, Upchurch & Baker, LLC), chair of the Women's Section said, "Camille Cook embodies the spirit of this award which recognizes and celebrates the accomplishments of women lawyers who have excelled in their field and have paved the way to success for other women lawyers."
Dean Cook earned her law degree in 1948 from the University of Alabama School of Law and after graduating, continued her association with the school in such roles as: assistant dean; director of continuing legal education; assistant vice president for academic affairs; and professor.
Cook taught courses on such topics as discrimination, family law, and children's rights. She is recognized for the important role she played as a member of the state's Law Revision Commission which is charged with recommending changes in the law in order to modify or eliminate antiquated and inequitable rules.
State Bar President-elect Samuel N. Crosby of Daphne (Stone, Granade & Crosby, P.C.), a close friend of Cook said, "Dean Cook personifies the kind of person chosen by the bar to receive this award. She is an unsung hero who has achieved professional excellence in the law, influenced other woman to pursue legal careers by teaching and mentoring them, opened doors for women lawyers in a variety of job settings that historically were closed to them, and advanced opportunities for women within the profession."
She is the recipient of the Sam W. Pipes Award, presented annually to an alumnus of the UA School of Law in recognition of outstanding service to the bar, the University, and the UA School of Law.
In 2002, she was chosen as one of the top 31 women of Alabama memorialized with an engraved plaque located on the UA campus.
Maud McLure Kelly, the namesake of the award, was the first woman to be admitted to the practice of law in Alabama. In 1907, Kelly's performance on the entrance exam at the University of Alabama Law Department merited her admission to the school as a senior, the second woman ever to have been admitted.
She graduated with highest honors in only one year and was said to have considered her acts of opening the door for women to the active, actual practice of law in Alabama as her most important contribution. As a woman practicing law in the South, Kelly gained the distinction of being the first among her peers to plead a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. She was inducted into the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame in 1990.
Past recipients of the award include: Alabama Supreme Court Justice Janie L. Shores; Alice Finch Lee; Nina Miglionico; the late Judge Phyllis Nesbit, and the late Mahala Ashley Dickerson, the state's first female black attorney.
The Alabama State Bar is dedicated to promoting the professional responsibility, competence and satisfaction of its members; improving the administration of justice, and; increasing public understanding and respect for the law. The Women's Section was created to meet the needs of all female members of the state bar. The purposes of the Section are to provide its members with opportunities to network and communicate, to enhance their level of bar participation, and to promote the advancement of women in the legal profession.