GPSolo Awards

Difference Makers Awards

2020 Nomination Form

The awards presentation will now be held in early December, 2020. 
The nomination deadline has been extended to
Friday, October 30, 2020.

About the Awards

The ABA Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division's (GPSolo) Difference Makers Awards recognize extraordinary individuals who “make a difference” by breaking down barriers, through community service, pro bono work, or service to the profession. Nominees are encouraged to be members of the ABA and GPSolo.

Difference Maker

This award honors a deserving individual who is an attorney or non-attorney: (a) who has made a difference in the local community and (b) who lives in the local geographic area where the Division is meeting and where the Difference Makers Awards program is being held.

Making a Difference by Breaking Barriers

This award honors an attorney living or deceased who broke barriers for gender, color, disabilities, or sexual orientation.

Making a Difference through Community Service

This award honors an attorney living or deceased who made a significant lifetime contribution to the local community through community service (not necessarily through bar work or pro bono work per se).

Making a Difference through Pro Bono Work

This award honors an attorney, law firm, corporate legal department, government attorney office, or institution in the legal profession that has made an outstanding commitment to volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged. (Recognizes an outstanding local attorney or group that does pro bono work.)

Making a Difference through Service to the Profession

This award honors an attorney living or deceased who made a significant contribution to the legal profession through service to the profession (i.e. frequent activities in bar associations, committees and services).

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can be nominated? 

Lawyers from any size firm, educators, judges, etc., are eligible for nomination. Nominees are encouraged to be members of the ABA and the Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division (GPSolo).

What are the benefits of winning this award?

  • Complimentary registration to the 2020 Solo & Small Firm Summit, October 14 – 17, 2020, Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
  • Complimentary tickets for the award winner and a guest to the 2020 Difference Makers Awards Luncheon on Friday, October 16, 2020. 
  • Receipt of a prestigious award.
  • A press release to send to state and local bar associations or the local newspapers.

What is the deadline to submit a nomination? 

The deadline has been extended to Friday, September 4, 2020. 

How are nominations submitted? 

Complete the online nomination form, which includes the following five easy steps to nominate someone for an award. Incomplete submissions will not be considered.

STEP 1: PLEASE CHOOSE AN AWARD

Select one of five awards.

STEP 2: COMPLETE CONTACT INFORMATION

Include contact information for the submitter and the nominee. Self-nominations are encouraged.

STEP 3: NOMINEE SUMMARY

Include a brief description of the nominee’s qualifications or a copy of the nominee’s resume or CV. Explain how the nominee’s qualifications meet the award’s criteria.

STEP 4: LETTERS OF SUPPORT

You are encouraged to email up to three letters supporting the nominee’s qualifications to gpsolo@americanbar.org.

STEP 5: HIT THE “Next” BUTTON TO SUBMIT YOUR NOMINATION

When will the awards be distributed? 

Awards will be presented at the 2020 Difference Makers Awards Luncheon on Friday, October 16, 2020.

What is the judging process? 

The selection of the award winners will be made by GPSolo Awards Committee members. The Committee’s decisions shall be final. Winners will be notified in September.

Past Recipients

2019

Making a Difference through Community Service Award

  • Laura V. Farber, Pasadena, CA

Making a Difference through Pro Bono Work Award

  • Katrina J. Eagle, San Diego, CA

Making a Difference through Service to the Profession Award

  • Stephen B. Rosales, Belmont, MA

2018

Difference Maker Awards

  • J. Michelle Childs, Columbia, SC
  • Jean H. Toal, Columbia, SC

Making a Difference by Breaking Barriers Award

  • I.S. Leevy Johnson, Columbia, SC

Making a Difference through Community Service Award 

  • Elizabeth S. Hilbun, Houston, TX

Making a Difference through Pro Bono Work Award

  • Andrea E. Loney, Columbia, SC

Making a Difference through Service to the Profession Award

  • David D. Farr, Houston, TX

2017

Difference Maker Award

  • Dr. Artika R. Tyner, Saint Paul, MN

Making a Difference by Breaking Barriers Award

  • Alphonse A. Gerhardstein, Cincinnati, OH

Making a Difference through Community Service Award

  • Eileen Sullivan, Phoenix, AZ

Making a Difference through Service to the Profession Award

  • LaJune Lange, Minneapolis, MN

2016

Difference Maker Award

  • Jill P. Meyer, Cincinnati, OH

Making a Difference by Breaking Barriers Award

  • Judge Nathaniel R. Jones, Cincinnati, OH

Making a Difference through Community Service Award

  • Robert S. Tintner, Philadelphia, PA

Making a Difference through Pro Bono Work Award

  • Angela Vigil, Miami, FL

Making a Difference through Service to the Profession Award

  • William K. Weisenberg, Columbus, OH

2015

Difference Maker Awards 

  • Daniel J. Hogan, Boston, MA
  • Paul W. Lee, Boston, MA

Making a Difference by Breaking Barriers Award

  • George W. B. Haley (posthumously), Silver Spring, MD

Making a Difference through Service to the Profession Award

  • Judge Allen J. Webster, Jr. Los Angeles, CA

2014

Difference Maker Award

  • Harry Gee, Jr. Houston, TX

Making a Difference by Breaking Barriers Award

  • Former Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson, Austin, TX

Making a Difference through Community Service Award

  • Lisa M. Tatum, San Antonio, TX

Making a Difference through Pro Bono Work Award

  • Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), San Antonio, TX

Making a Difference through Service to the Profession Award

  • Colonel, Retired Will A. Gunn, Fort Belvoir, VA

2013

Difference Maker Award

  • John M. Rosenberg, Prestonsburg, KY

Making a Difference by Breaking Barriers Award

  • Judge Bernice B. Donald, Memphis, TN

Making a Difference through Community Service Award

  • Palmer Gene Vance II, Lexington, KY

Making a Difference through Pro Bono Work Award

  • Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN), Minneapolis, MN

Making a Difference through Service to the Profession Award

  • Marcia Milby Ridings, London, KY

2012

Difference Maker Award

  • Justice Steven Gonzalez, Olympia, WA

Making a Difference by Breaking Barriers Award

  • Justice Mary Yu, Olympia, WA

Making a Difference through Community Service Award

  • Judge Karen Overstreet, Seattle, WA

Making a Difference through Pro Bono Work Award

  • Tarrant County Bar Association, Fort Worth, TX

2011

Making a Difference through Service to the Profession Award

  • Alice E. Richmond, Boston, MA

Making a Difference through Community Service Award

  • James Bell, San Francisco, CA

Making a Difference by Breaking Barriers Award

  • Alan C. Page, Minneapolis, MN

Making a Difference through Pro Bono Work Award

  • James P. Hadden, Philadelphia, PA

2010

Making a Difference through Service to the Profession Award

  • Richard Pena, Austin, TX

Making a Difference through Community Service Award

  • Roger N. Braden, Edgewood, KY

Making a Difference by Breaking Barriers Award

  • Hon. Matthew J. Perry, Jr., Columbia, SC

Making a Difference through Pro Bono Award

  • Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program (a joint pro bono program of the Dallas Bar Association and Legal Aid of Northwest Texas), Dallas, TX

2009

Making a Difference through Service to the Profession Award

  • Holly J. Fujie, Los Angeles, CA

Making a Difference through Community Service Award

  • Dr. Edgar S. Cahn, Washington, DC

Making a Difference through Pro Bono Work Award

  • Barbara J. King, Albany, NY

2008

Difference Maker Award

  • Governor Bill Richardson, Santa Fe, NM

Making a Difference through Service to the Profession Award

  • Briggs F. Cheney, Albuquerque, NM

Making a Difference through Community Service Award

  • Margaret Holt Baird, Burlington, NC

Making a Difference by Breaking Barriers Awards

  • Justice Petra Jimenez Maes, Santa Fe, NM
  • Professor Nekima Levy-Pounds, Minneapolis, MN

Making a Difference through Pro Bono Work Award

  • Patricia L. McCabe, Van Nuys, CA

2007

Making a Difference through Service to the Profession Award

  • C. Dale McClain, Worcester, PA

Making a Difference through Community Service Award

  • William T. Robinson, III, Florence, KY

Making a Difference through Breaking Barriers Award

  • Judge Pamila J. Brown, Ellicott City, MD

Making a Difference through Pro Bono Work Awards

  • Wendy Demchick-Alloy, Montgomery County, PA
  • Mary Coyne Pugh, Montgomery County, PA
  • Harvey F. Strauss, Maple Glen, PA

2006

Professional Achievement Award

  • Honorable Janine P. Geske, Milwaukee, WI

Diversity Achievement Award

  • Ulice Payne, Jr., Brookfield, WI

2005

Professional Achievement Award

  • Michael S. Greco, Boston, MA

Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Honorable William T. Hogan, Jr., Boston, MA

Diversity and Professional Achievement Award

  • Honorable Sandra L. Lynch, Boston, MA

2004

Diversity Achievement Awards

  • Catherine Endo Chuck, Los Angeles, CA
  • Gary Farwell, Los Angeles, CA
  • Diane M. Goodman, Encino, CA
  • Lorraine Loder, Los Angeles, CA
  • Marilyn H. Nelson, Beverly Hills, CA
  • Maria Villa, Torrance, CA

Diversity & Professional Achievement Award

  • Paula J. Frederick, Atlanta, GA

Lifetime Achievement Award

  • General Earl E. Anderson, Vienna, VA

2002

Diversity Achievement Awards

  • James M. Durant, III, Vandenberg, CA
  • Laura V. Farber, Pasadena, CA
  • Harry Hathaway, Los Angeles, CA
  • Mary Pat Toups, Laguna Woods, CA