The Board of Bar Commissioners (Board) of the Alabama State Bar met on Friday, May 1, 2020. The Alabama State Bar building was open and available for in-person meeting participants. Board members participated via videoconference, in accordance with the Proclamation of Governor Ivey on March 18, 2020, which provides for Board meetings to be conducted via electronic means in order to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and to provide for essential minimal functions of the agency.
The following items were discussed by the Board:
- Women’s Suffrage Activities
- Diversity & Inclusion Committee Report: View the “BIG Ideas Campaign” Survey Results here
- Legislative and Judicial Update
- Judges Task Force Report
- Legal Food Frenzy Kickoff Announcement
- Database Modernization and IT Upgrade Update
- Lawyer Specialization Update/Legal Specialization Board Appointments
- Rule Seven Series Update
- Appointment Requests for Disciplinary Panel Boards, Disciplinary Hearing Officers, Client Security Fund Committee, and Alabama Law Foundation Board
The Board took action on the following items, all of which are considered to be in furtherance of essential minimal functions of the Alabama State Bar:
- Election of At-Large Board Members: Kira Fonteneau, Holly Sawyer and John Stamps
- Approval of Award Recipients ** (See below)
- Approval of Financial Reports
- Submission of Proposed Changes to the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct for Membership Comment
- Approval of Member Benefits
- Elections of Delegates to the American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates
- Increase of Pro Hac Vice Fees
You can watch a video recap from President Christy Crow, which was broadcast on the Bar’s Facebook, by clicking this link.
** The following award recipients were approved by the Board of Bar Commissioners:
- Award of Merit – Allison Skinner: Recognizes outstanding constructive service to the legal profession in Alabama
- Judicial Award of Merit – Judge Madeline Haikala: The Judicial Award of Merit was established in 1987. The award is not necessarily an annual award. It must be presented to a judge who is not retired, whether state or federal court, trial or appellate, who is determined to have contributed significantly to the administration of justice in Alabama. The recipient is presented with a crystal gavel bearing the state bar seal and the year of presentation at the Alabama State Bar Annual Meeting.
- Bill Scruggs Award –Tom Heflin: The William D. “Bill” Scruggs, Jr. Service to the Bar Award is given to those members of the Alabama State Bar that have made significant contribution(s) and outstanding, long-term service to the bar. The Bill Scruggs Service to the Bar Award was established in 2002 to honor the memory of and accomplishments on behalf of the bar of former state bar President Bill Scruggs. The award is not necessarily an annual award. It must be presented in recognition of outstanding and long-term service by living members of the bar of this state to the Alabama State Bar as an organization.
- Tony McLain Award – Michael Upchurch and Harlen Prater: The purpose of the J. Anthony “Tony” McLain Professionalism Award is to honor the leadership of Tony McLain and to encourage the emulation of his deep devotion to professionalism and service to the Alabama State Bar by recognizing outstanding, long-term and distinguished service in the advancement of professionalism by living members of the Alabama State Bar.
- Maud McLure Kelly Award – Augusta Dowd: The award, named for the first woman admitted to practice law in Alabama, is presented each year by the Women’s Section to a female attorney who has made a lasting impact on the legal profession and has been a pioneer and leader within the state. The Women’s Section is honored to present this award named after a woman whose commitment to women’s rights was and continues to be an inspiration for all women in Alabama.
- Susan Bevill Livingston Award – Christy Crow: This award is presented by the Women’s Section in memory of Susan Bevill Livingston who practiced law at Balch & Bingham. The recipient of this award must demonstrate a continual commitment to those around her as a mentor, a sustained level of leadership throughout her career and a commitment to her community in which she practices, such as, but not limited to, bar related activities, community service and/or activities which benefit women in the legal field and/or in her community. The candidate must be or have been in good standing with the Alabama State Bar and have at least ten (10) years of cumulative practice in the field of law.
- Commissioners Award – Judge John Graham: Recognizing those who improved the administration of justice in Alabama.
- Jeanne Marie Leslie Award – Robert Thornhill: Recognizing exemplary service to lawyers in need in the areas of substance abuse or mental health; Presented by the Alabama Lawyer Assistance Program Committee