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Vol. 34, No. 5

Spotlight on Law Day, Louis M. Brown, NCBP, and NCBF-ALPS award winners

Several awards were presented at a luncheon held during the Midyear Meeting of the National Association of Bar Executives, the National Conference of Bar Foundations, and the National Conference of Bar Presidents. Here are the recipients of the awards given at the meeting, which was held in Orlando in February.

Law Day Outstanding Activity Awards

The theme for Law Day 2009 was “A Legacy of Liberty: Celebrating Lincoln’s Bicentennial.” Recipients of awards from the ABA Division for Public Education were:

The Guam Bar Association, Judiciary of Guam, and District Court of Guam brought an award-winning Abraham Lincoln portrayer to Guam for a presentation reaching more than 3,000 school stu-dents and Rotary Club members. Activities during Law Week included a joint press conference with representatives from all three branches of Guam’s government issuing a Law Day proclamation, court-house tours, mock trials with 350 students participating, and a swearing-in ceremony for newly admitted attorneys. Law Week culminated with a law fair at Guam’s largest shopping mall.

Law Day in Indiana, for which the Indiana Supreme Court received an award, focused on Lincoln as a lawyer, with judges, lawyers, paralegals, and law students visiting classrooms all over the state and sharing with students Lincoln’s ideas about the importance of the law and its role in shaping American citi-zens. The program reached approximately 33,000 K-12 students. In addition, teachers received free lesson plans connecting Lincoln, citizenship, civic virtue, and the law. The Law Day classroom visits served as a culmination for a year-long project of the state Supreme Court’s outreach program, “Courts in the Classroom.”

Law Day programs from Hudson Vicinage, New Jersey Superior Court reached more than 1,000 people of all ages within the county. Events included a mock trial involving county schools, a court night program, and juror education/appreciation. Highlights included six legal workshops, a keynote speaker from the Lincoln Society, and a presentation of the Gettysburg Address. These events were in-tended to promote a greater understanding and appreciation of the law and the life and career of Abra-ham Lincoln.

Judge Edward R. Finch Law Day Speech Award

This award, also presented by the ABA Division for Public Education, went to Judge Wallace R. Hoggatt of Cochise County, Ariz., for his speech called “Fated to Be Free.” In the speech, Hoggatt explored Lincoln’s complexities and discussed apparent contradictions for modern Americans seeking guidance about how best to remember the 16th president of the United States. Hoggatt concluded his speech by encouraging people to “concentrate not on a single facet of the personality or history of a complex man” but instead to “take note of his outlook on life.”

Louis M. Brown Award for Legal Access

This award, given by the ABA Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services, recognizes those who work to improve access to justice for people of moderate means. This year, for only the third time in three decades, the award honored an individual for lifetime achievement.

Richard Granat has worked toward increased access to legal services since the 1960s. He was the architect of one of the first online resources for legal information and assistance, the Maryland Peoples Law Library. Granat was a founder and first chair of the ABA Law Practice Management Section’s E-lawyering Task Force. He founded Di-rectLaw, which provides online tools to help practitioners create cost efficiencies. Last year, the ABA Journal spot-lighted Granat as a “Legal Rebel.”

The second award, for meritorious recognition, went to Illinois Legal Aid Online. This project features a state-wide Web site with an array of information and resources for those who need legal assistance. The project has reached beyond the Web site to establish technology-based self-help centers in courthouses and public libraries at 38 sites across Illinois. Online resources are merged with brick-and-mortar outlets to expand outreach in an exemplary way.

The third award went to the City University of New York School of Law’s Community Legal Resource Net-work. Under the direction of Fred Rooney, this project provides the tools necessary for lawyers to succeed in serv-ing clients in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. Resources include low-cost practice management CLE programming, mentoring relationships, and an online discussion group. Most recently, the network has started the Incubator for Justice and the Launch Pad for Justice. These programs foster start-up practices for lawyers interested in serving those who need various personal legal services.

NCBF-ALPS Foundation Services Award for Innovations in Fundraising

This award recognizes a bar foundation that has demonstrated creativity and success in its fundraising programs. This year, the award went to the Cincinnati Bar Foundation.

The CBF 50/50 Campaign Annual Appeal is a 50/50 partnership between lawyers in the Cincinnati area and the CBF to support law-related charities and the community. The goal for the first campaign was to get 1,000 lawyers to donate at least $50 each, thereby raising at least $50,000. The goal has increased in the years since; in 2008, the campaign raised $106,000.

The $50 donation allows young lawyers, solo practitioners, and others to participate; law firms are asked to con-tribute at the 100 percent level. Goals are set based on firm size, and firm captains are recruited for the larger firms. Each August, firm captains are enlisted and mailing drafts developed. The next month, “how to” packets are sent to captains. The campaign officially begins in October. A kickoff party is held the following month (see “Cincinnati Bar Foundation event gets a boost from Bootsy Collins,” March-April 2010, page 5, for details about one such party), and the campaign ends in January.

The 50/50 Campaign has built a consistent fund growth of 10 to 20 percent each year, allowed the CBF to in-crease the amount of grants distributed, increased the donor pool, and reenergized the board of trustees and commit-tees by connecting them to a winning campaign. It creates more occasions for lawyers to engage with the founda-tion, which has led to other fundraising opportunities. Contributions have funded voter education programs, law student scholarships, a gunshot violence intervention program, and other worthwhile efforts.

NCBP Fellows Award

The Fellows Award recognizes the accomplishments of a past bar president who has demonstrated a continuing commitment to leadership, service, the work of the organized bar, and the purposes of the National Conference of Bar Presidents. This year, the award went to Mark I. Harrison.

Harrison, a member of the Phoenix law firm of Osborn Maledon, P.A., currently practices in the areas of legal and judicial ethics and appellate matters. His professional life has spanned 50 years and includes work as a teacher, a published author, and a crusader for the highest standards of ethics and professionalism.

Harrison served as chair of the ABA Commission to Evaluate the Code of Judicial Conduct; the code was unani-mously adopted by the ABA House of Delegates in February 2007. He has represented lawyers in disciplinary pro-ceedings for more than 25 years and has represented judges and the Arizona Judicial Conduct Commission in judi-cial discipline proceedings.

Since 2000, he has taught legal ethics as an adjunct professor at the Arizona State University College of Law; previously, he taught the same course as an adjunct professor at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. Harrison serves on the national board of directors of Justice at Stake and as president of Justice for All, a bipartisan, nonprofit organization founded in Arizona in 2005 to promote and educate the public about the impor-tance of preserving merit selection and an independent judiciary in that state.

Harrison was president of the Maricopa County Bar Association in 1970 and president of the State Bar of Ari-zona in 1975-76. In 1977, he was elected president of NCBP and was the youngest ever to serve in that capacity.

Active in a variety of community and law-related organizations, Harrison has received many awards, including: the ABA Michael Franck Award for Professional Responsibility, the Walter E. Craig Lifetime Achievement Award from the State Bar of Arizona, and the Maricopa County Bar Association Hall of Fame Award.