Montgomery, Ala., July 11, 2008 — At the Alabama State Bar’s 2008 Annual Meeting, held this past weekend in Sandestin, Fla., awards honoring members of the legal profession were presented to the following:
(Maud McLure Kelly Award) – Tuscaloosa attorneys Louise Ingram Turner (Turner & Turner, P.C.) and Jane Kimbrough Dishuck (Dishuck, LaCoste & Smith, P.C.) received the award jointly which celebrates the accomplishments of women lawyers who have excelled in their field and have paved the way to success for other women lawyers.
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.
The recipients of the 2007 Pro Bono Awards are:
(Al Vreeland Award) – Sister Lynn Marie McKenzie of Cullman (Knight, Griffith, McKenzie, Knight & McLeroy) is a sister of the Order of St. Benedict. She has provided more than 400 hours of pro bono service representing clients with legal problems ranging from social security issues to juvenile custody matters to workers’ compensation claims. She was the 2007 recipient of the “Champion of Justice Award” conferred by the Alabama Association of Justice.
Vreeland practiced law in Tuscaloosa and served on the Volunteer Lawyer Program/Access to Legal Services committee for many years. He was a member of the committee which in 1990 asked the Board of Bar Commissioners to form the Alabama State Bar Volunteer Lawyer Program. His work on the committee led to the development of the Basic Issues of Law Manual which is a manual that covers nine basic areas of practice and has been a widely recognized recruitment tool for the program. He received the first Pro Bono award presented by the committee in 1996.
(Firm/Group Award) – The Mobile law firm of Alford, Clausen & McDonald. To date, the firm has provided over 279 hours of pro bono service to 123 clients connection 16 different kinds of legal matters such as, bankruptcy/debtor relief, landlord-tenant matters, child support and contract or warranty performance. Twenty-three of the firms’ lawyers and its paralegal staff actively participate in the Mobile Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyers Program.
(Law Student Award) – Sigfrido Rubio, Cumberland School of Law. He was elected to the American Civil Liberties Board and devoted countless hours to ensure that inmates at the Immigration Detention Center in Etowah County have access to their consular representatives and legal representation as they await hearings or deportation.
(Mediation Award) – Douglas L. Key of Birmingham (Key, Greer, Frawley, Key & Harrison). Key mediated 50 cases last year for the Shelby County Domestic Court that involved divorce, custody-visitation matters or post-divorce issues.
(Special Recognition) – Alabama State Bar Wills for Heroes Committee. This project provides sample wills, advance healthcare directives and powers of attorney to firefighters, law enforcement officers and emergency medical personnel. Thus far, more than 500 first responders have been provided with these estate planning documents at clinics held throughout the state. Nearly 300 attorneys have volunteered to assist.
(Commissioner’s Award) – Morris S. Dees, Jr., of Montgomery (Southern Poverty Law Center) and former state bar President Fred D. Gray of Tuskegee (Gray, Langford, Sapp, McGowan, Gray & Nathanson) in recognition of their long-standing commitment to the administration of justice in Alabama.
(Award of Merit) – Millard D. Fuller of Americus, Ga., (The Fuller Center for Housing), Beth Carmichael of Birmingham (Birmingham Bar Association) and Barbara Rhodes of Mobile (Mobile Bar Association) for their outstanding constructive service to the legal profession.
(President’s Award) – Mike and Mickey Turner of Birmingham (Freedom Court Reporting Service) in special recognition for their meritorious service to the legal profession.
(Local Bar Achievement Award) – Mobile Bar Association and the Cleburne-Calhoun County bar associations for advancing programs that benefit the community and enhance the bar’s image.
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.