Montgomery, Ala., May 16, 2008 - Alabama icon Harper Lee today was awarded an honorary special membership in the Alabama State Bar at a ceremony conducted by state Supreme Court Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb at the Heflin-Torbert Judicial Building.
The presentation was made during the induction of four new members of the Alabama Lawyers' Hall of Fame. Lee was recognized as the author of one of the most widely read and internationally honored books of popular fiction ever written, "To Kill a Mockingbird."
State Bar President Samuel N. Crosby (Stone, Granade & Crosby P.C., Daphne) said, "The character of Atticus Finch has become the personification of the exemplary lawyer in serving the legal needs of the poor and those no one else would represent. He epitomizes the type of professional, and person, lawyers strive to be every day."
Lee studied law at the University of Alabama from 1945-1949, but was unable to complete her studies and sit for the bar examination. The idea for presenting this one-of-a-kind honor originated with former Associate Justice J. Gorman Houston, Jr., who discussed it with Associate Justice Champ Lyons, Jr. Justice Lyons presented a resolution to the entire Supreme Court which unanimously voted to approve taking the action.
In 2006 Lee received the state bar's Award of Merit, presented for outstanding constructive service to the legal profession in Alabama.
The 15,700-member 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.
Members of the Alabama State Bar's Board of Bar Commissioners pose with noted author Harper Lee (in wheelchair) at a special ceremony conducted during the induction of new members of the Alabama Lawyers Hall of Fame. She was honored with a one-of-a-kind honorary special membership in the Alabama State Bar which was unanimously approved by the Supreme Court. Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb and state bar President Sam Crosby (front row, far right) made the joint presentation. After receiving the award, Lee remarked, "I'm opening an office, tomorrow!" In 2006, Lee received the state bar's Award of Merit, presented for outstanding constructive service to the legal profession in Alabama.
Noted author Harper Lee autographs a copy of "To Kill a Mockingbird" for Bar Commissioner Kelly Lee (no relation) at a special ceremony conducted during the induction of new members of the Alabama Lawyers Hall of Fame. She was honored with a one-of-a-kind honorary special membership in the Alabama State Bar.