Alabama State Bar announces 2014 Award recipients

Published 07/21 2014 01:24PM

Updated 07/21 2014 01:31PM

MONTGOMERY – The Alabama State Bar on Saturday during the 2014 Annual Meeting announced the recipients of several awards honoring members of the legal profession:

Judicial Award of Merit – Hon. Edward E. Carnes, U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit
The Judicial Award of Merit is the highest honor given by the Alabama State Bar to a sitting judge, whether state or federal court, trial or appellate, who has contributed significantly to the administration of justice in Alabama.

Judge Carnes attended the University of Alabama where he graduated in the top of his class from the school of commerce and business in 1972. He graduated with honors from Harvard Law School in 1975. That same year, he was admitted to the Alabama State Bar and began his legal career at the Alabama Attorney General’s Office. He argued more than 150 appeals, including three before the United States Supreme Court.

After almost 20 years of advocacy at the Alabama Attorney General’s Office, he was appointed to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in 1992, and he has served as a judge on that court for more than 20 years. He became Chief Judge on August 1, 2013.

Award of Merit – John L. Carroll, retired dean, Samford University Cumberland School of Law
The Award of Merit is the highest honor given by the Alabama State Bar to a lawyer, and serves to recognize outstanding constructive service to the legal profession in Alabama.

Judge John L. Carroll received his undergraduate degree from Tufts University and holds law degrees from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University and Harvard University. Judge Carroll served as a United States Magistrate Judge in the Middle District for more than 14 years. Prior to becoming a judge, Judge Carroll was a professor of law at Mercer University School of Law in Macon, Georgia. Before entering academia, he was the legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery.

Judge Carroll is a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Inns of Court and a member of the boards of directors of the American Judicature Society, the Sedona Conference and the Alabama Civil Justice Foundation. He is a fellow of both the American Bar Association and the Alabama State Bar, an academic fellow of the International Society of Barristers and an elected member of the American Law Institute.

Professionalism Award – J. Anthony McLain, General Counsel, Alabama State Bar, Montgomery
This award recognizes an attorney for his/her distinguished service in advancing the professionalism of the legal profession. This year marks the inception of the award. Following the presentation, it was announced that the award will be further known as the J. Anthony “Tony” McLain Award.

McLain began his career with the Alabama State Bar in 1988 as assistant general counsel, and was named general counsel in 1995. In this role, McLain is responsible for overseeing the operations of the Center for Professional Responsibility, which investigates and prosecutes bar complaints, issues ethics opinions to lawyers, represents the bar in state and federal litigation and provides legal advice to the bar’s governing body, the Board of Bar Commissioners.

Maud McLure Kelly Award – Ernestine Sapp, Tuskegee
The Maud McLure Kelly Award is named for the first woman 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 as a senior, the second woman ever to have been admitted to the school.

Ernestine Sapp practiced law for more than three decades representing clients in civil rights matters, specifically in the area of education rights for children with special needs. She was the first African American to graduate from Jones School of Law. Sapp was also the first African American woman to serve on the Alabama Trial Lawyers Executive Committee and on the National Trial Lawyers minority caucus, as well as being the first Alabamian elected vice president of the National Bar Association.

Jeanne Marie Leslie Service Award – Kim Davidson, Birmingham
The purpose of this award is to honor a state bar member, a volunteer or a committee member who has shown exemplary dedication to assisting those in need in the area of substance abuse or mental health.

Kim Davidson is a family law attorney based out of Birmingham. Davidson has served on the Alabama Lawyer Assistance Program Committee since 2010. She is a graduate of the Birmingham School of Law.

Chief Justice’s Professionalism Award – Hon. Joseph Colquitt, University of Alabama School of Law
The Chief Justice’s Professionalism Award was created jointly by the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism and the Alabama State Bar. It recognizes a judge or lawyer for his or her outstanding contribution in advancing the professionalism of the legal profession in Alabama.

Judge Colquitt received his undergraduate degree in 1967 and his law degree in 1970 from The University of Alabama. In 1987, he received the M.J.S. degree from the University of Nevada in Reno. Judge Colquitt was a circuit judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit of Alabama from 1971 to 1991. During that time, he served four terms as presiding judge. He also served on the Executive Committee of the Alabama Circuit Judges Association. From 1974 to 1991, Judge Colquitt was an adjunct faculty member at The University of Alabama School of Law before joining the law school on a permanent basis in 1991. In addition, he is a faculty member at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada. He regularly teaches at judicial colleges and seminars, and has taught at the Russian Legal Academy in Moscow. Judge Colquitt was a member of the drafting committee for the Alabama Rules of Evidence, edited the Alabama Pattern Jury Instructions - Criminal and is the author of Alabama Law of Evidence and Alabama Criminal Trial Practice Forms.

President’s Award
The President’s Award is presented to members of the bar who best exemplify the Alabama State Bar motto, “Lawyers Render Service.” The recipients are chosen by the current president.

David R. Boyd, Balch & Bingham LLP, Montgomery
David G. Hymer, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, Birmingham
Daniel F. Johnson, Lewis Brackin Flowers & Johnson, Dothan
Othni J. Lathram, Alabama Law Institute, Tuscaloosa
Robert C. Lockwood, Wilmer & Lee PA, Huntsville
George M. (Jack) Neal Jr., Sirote & Permutt PC, Birmingham
Hon. John E. Ott, Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge, Northern District
Barry A. Ragsdale, Sirote & Permutt PC, Birmingham
Alyce M. Spruell, Rosen Harwood PA, Tuscaloosa

Al Vreeland Pro Bono Award – Jeff C. Smith, Rosen Harwood PA, Tuscaloosa
As president of the Tuscaloosa County Bar, Smith established a monthly legal clinic that provides counsel to the poor and disadvantaged in the Tuscaloosa area. He helped set up and organize the clinic, recruited new volunteer attorneys and developed a partnership with The University of Alabama School of Law. Additionally, Smith is a regular volunteer at the clinic and has been a Volunteer Lawyers Program (VLP) volunteer since 2004. Over the last year, he personally assisted 12 clients and currently has four open and active pro bono cases.

Pro Bono Firm/Group Award – Siniard, Timberlake & League PC, Huntsville
Since 2010, the attorneys at Siniard, Timberlake & League have been dedicated to providing support to those in need through the Madison County Volunteer Lawyers Program. They have provided legal assistance to 25 clients in a wide variety of areas. They regularly attend clinics and other events and are ready, willing and able to lend a hand when called upon.

Michael Timberlake joined the Madison County VLP Board of Directors in 2012. In 2013, he was asked to chair the program’s major fundraiser. Through his work, and that of the lawyers and staff at Siniard Timberlake, the fundraiser, Pro Bono Brews, expanded and reached outside of the legal community, raising over $20,000.

Pro Bono Law Student Award – Matthew J. Ward, Thomas Goode Jones School of Law
Matthew J. Ward has been a strong advocate for pro bono legal services throughout law school. He is a frequent volunteer at the Montgomery County Pro Bono Clinic. In addition to volunteering, Ward has encouraged other students to participate in the clinic. Last year, Ward also served as president of the Public Interest Law Foundation at Jones. In that role, he sought different ways to recognize students involved in public interest. He also oversaw the annual Bid for Justice Auction, a fundraiser which provides stipends to students working in unpaid public interest jobs during the summer. Ward also worked in the Jones School of Law legal clinics.

Pro Bono Mediation Award – James N. Walter, Jr., Capell & Howard, Montgomery
James N. Walter, Jr., regularly provides pro bono mediation for both the Montgomery County district and circuit courts. In the last year, Walter provided more than 25 hours of assistance pro bono. He meets with the public at court and helps resolve disputes.

Local Bar Achievement Awards
Bessemer Bar Association, President V. Edward Freeman, II
Birmingham Bar Association, President Robin L. Burrell
Escambia County Bar Association, President C. Daniel White
Houston County Bar Association, President William L. Lee, IV

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