Dedicated advocate for Alabamians in need of civil legal assistance
Montgomery, Alabama, October 23, 2013 – Alyce M. Spruell of Tuscaloosa (Rosen Harwood PA) has been chosen to receive the 2013 Judge W. Harold Albritton Award presented by the state bar to recognize an individual for leadership in making free civil legal services available to the poor and disadvantaged.
State Bar President Anthony A. Joseph of Birmingham (Maynard Cooper & Gale PC) said, “Alabama lawyers make a positive difference every day. Alyce has committed her time and talents to support our programs that make a significant impact all across our state. Her heart for the many people who are in need but lack access to lawyers is exemplified by her years of service and an unwavering commitment to ensuring that quality legal services are provided by our bar membership.”
The Albritton Award was created by the state bar in 2011 to honor the vision and leadership Albritton showed by establishing the bar’s Volunteer Lawyers Program in 1991. That program has now grown to a statewide network of more than 4,500 Alabama attorneys who dedicate time and provide advice annually to assist Alabamians in need of free legal assistance. Spruell was one of the lawyers who worked in the initial program and has supported the VLP efforts throughout her 30-year legal career.
Joseph noted, as the first chair of the bar’s Pro Bono Celebration Task Force, Spruell’s energy and innovative approach set an example for other bar groups throughout the nation, including the American Bar Association. That initial task force evolved into a standing committee that today has increased the number of free walk-in legal clinics held throughout the state, especially during National Pro Bono Week (October 20–26).
During the April 2011 tornado and thereafter, as the then-president of the state bar, Spruell recognized the pro bono efforts of Alabama’s lawyers, assisted in recruiting more pro bono volunteers and lead the drive to mobilize community support all across the state. Joseph added, “Alyce has been a member of the bar's Volunteer Lawyers Program since its inception and was recognized in 1998 by the bar for her service to that program.”
In addition to serving as president of the state bar (2010-2011), Spruell has also served as director of the Administrative Office of Courts and its legal division. A former assistant dean for the University of Alabama School of Law, she earned her law degree there in 1983 after obtaining her undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt in 1980. Spruell helped establish the first student public interest law organization during her tenure as an assistant dean at the UA Law School. She currently serves as an adjunct professor in trial advocacy and legislation for the law school.
Prior to serving as a state bar officer, she served on the Board of Bar Commissioners (the state bar’s decision- and policy-making body) representing Tuscaloosa County. She is also a past president of the Tuscaloosa County Bar Association. Spruell is the founding co-chair of the state bar’s Leadership Forum (created to identify and train outstanding lawyers to be servant-leaders) and later chaired the forum.
She is a graduate of Leadership Alabama and currently serves on the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama’s Public Affairs Council as well as on a number of community and statewide service organizations.
The 17,600-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.