John H. Pickering Award

John H. Pickering
The award nominees must be lawyers or judges, though not necessarily members of the American Bar Association, who demonstrate outstanding legal ability; and have compiled a distinguished record of service to the profession and their communities, resulting in significant contributions to improving access to justice for all.

Call for Nominations is now closed for the 2015 John H. Pickering Achievement Award. for the 2015 John H. Pickering Achievement Award.  The award honors the life and accomplishments of John H. Pickering, an outstanding lawyer who was involved in various pro bono activities and law-related societal issues affecting the elderly.

2014 Award Recipient

                                          The Honorable
                                        Bernice B. Donald      

The Honorable Bernice B. Donald was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit by President Barack Hussein Obama on December 1, 2010, and re-nominated in January 2011. She was confirmed by the Senate on September 6, 2011, and became the first African American woman to serve as a Sixth Circuit judge. Prior to joining the Court of Appeals, Judge Donald served on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, where she was appointed by President William Jefferson Clinton in December 1995. Judge Donald served as Judge of U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Tennessee from June 1988 to January 1996. She was the first African American woman in the history of the United States to serve as a bankruptcy judge. When she was elected to the General Sessions Criminal Court in 1982, she became the first African American woman to serve as a judge in the history of the State of Tennessee. She received her law degree from the University of Memphis School of Law. Judge Donald is very active in the American Bar Association and is a frequent speaker on the topic of implicit bias. She has also authored several articles with her law clerks, including Not Your Father’s Legal Profession: Technology, Globalization, Diversity, and the Future of Law Practice in the United States, 44 U. MEM. L. REV. 645 (2014) and Bringing Back Reasonable Inferences: A Short, Simple Suggestion for Addressing Some Problems at the Intersection of Employment Discrimination and Summary Judgment, 57 N.Y.L. SCH. L. REV. 749 (2012–2013).

John H. Pickering Award Recipients


Hon. Bernice B. Donald


U.W. Clemon


Anthony R. Palermo


T. Maxfield Bahner


S. Shepherd Tate


Leigh Middleditch, Jr.


Neal R. Sonnett


Ronald Miller