Montgomery, Alabama, July 15, 2011 – At the Alabama State Bar’s 2011 Annual Meeting, held this past weekend in Point Clear, awards honoring members of the legal profession were presented to the following:
(William D. “Bill” Scruggs, Jr. Service to the Bar Award) – The award is presented posthumously to Robert A. Huffaker, Montgomery (Rushton Stakely Johnston & Garrett PA). Huffaker was a prominent member of the Alabama legal community. For more than 27 years he was the editor of The Alabama Lawyer, the acclaimed scholarly and research publication of the Alabama State Bar. In 1984 he received the highest award conferred by the Alabama State Bar – the Award of Merit.
(Judicial Award of Merit) – This year’s recipient is the Hon. Joel F. Dubina, chief judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, Montgomery. He becomes the second Alabamian to hold this important position. Judge John Godbold was the first. Some legal commentators have noted that possibly, he is the only judge in the U.S. to have been appointed to all three of the federal judge positions below Supreme Court.
(Award of Merit) – Presented in recognition to Dr. David G. Bronner, for outstanding constructive service to the legal profession in Alabama. He earned his law degree from the University of Alabama in 1971. After teaching in various graduate schools of education and business, he was appointed assistant dean of the University of Alabama School of Law. Shortly thereafter, he took his present position with RSA in 1973. The combination of his exceptional business acumen coupled with a law degree has enabled him to help the state bar shape future leaders of the state through its Leadership Forum program.
(Commissioners’ Award) – The recipient is Kenneth D. Wallis. Last July, Ken Wallis retired after serving as former Gov. Bob Riley’s chief legal advisor. But Wallis is no stranger to the Executive Chamber having previously served as legal advisor to the late Gov. George Wallace. Former Gov. Riley has described Wallis as "unselfish, dedicated and a man of integrity."
(Chief Justice’s Professionalism Award) – The recipient is Dean John L. Carroll, Samford University, Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham. He earned law degrees from Cumberland (J.D.), where he was graduated magna cum laude, and from Harvard University (LL.M.). Throughout his legal career, both as a lawyer and jurist, he has exemplified the primary traits embodied by this award — civility and professionalism. His commitment to these ideals and philosophy is further evidenced by his deanship at Cumberland where he has been at the forefront of promoting these concepts to students, lawyers and judges.
(Maud McLure Kelly Award) – This year’s award is presented posthumously to Carol Jean Smith, Montgomery. She began her legal career as a law clerk to Alabama Supreme Court Justice James Faulkner. For the next three decades she was an assistant Attorney General, culminating in service as chief of the Opinions Division. She was widely known in Alabama as the state's leading expert in the fields of municipal and county government law.
Pro Bono Awards:
(Al Vreeland Award) – Edward A. Hosp of Birmingham (Maynard Cooper & Gale PC) is this year’s recipient. Recognized for his unyielding commitment to providing access to justice for numerous low-income Alabamians. He is president of the Birmingham Volunteer Lawyers Program and has chaired the Chief Justice’s Commission on Access to Justice since 2007.
(Firm/Group Award) – Law firm of McCallum Methvin & Terrell PC, Birmingham. The attorneys at this firm regularly accept pro bono case referrals from the Birmingham Volunteer Lawyers Program. They are currently representing nine clients on a pro bono basis. The firm also recovered attorney’s fees which they declined to accept and, instead, contributed to the program.
(Law Student Award) – Stephen Hudgens, Samford University, Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham. As a law student, his contributions (assisting with collecting client intake information and escorting clients to and from clinics) have enabled the Birmingham VLP to more efficiently serve both low-income clients and attorney-volunteers.
(Mediation Award) – Al Giles, sole practitioner, Mobile. In 2010, he single-handedly developed the Mobile County District Court Pro Bono Mediation Program. In the past year, he donated 640 hours of pro bono and 110 hours alone resulted from pro bono mediations that he handled.
(Local Bar Achievement Award) - Presented for advancing programs that benefit the community and enhance the bar’s image.
The Baldwin County Bar Association is recognized for its DVD entitled “Ensuring Fair Play the American Way” to show to potential jurors – just before jury selection. The video explains what it is like to be a juror, what is expected of jurors and what a juror actually does.
The Birmingham Bar Association is the recipient of this award for its 27 community service projects covering a wide range of charitable and public service causes. The efforts of the Birmingham Bar Association resulted in a donation of more than $125,000 to the Red Cross to assist Alabamians affected by the April 27, 2011 tornadoes.
The Huntsville-Madison County Bar is the recipient of the Local Bar Award of Achievement for its cumulative list of community service projects covering a wide range of charitable and public service causes, including several new projects aimed at benefiting both the bar and the community.
(Judge Walter P. Gewin CLE Award) – Andrew J. Potts of Birmingham (Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz PC) is this year’s recipient. He has unselfishly shared his time and expertise both as a planning committee chair and seminar presenter for programs – both live and on-demand – on probate and estate planning.
The 16,600-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.