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Michael Franck Professional Responsibility Award

About the Award

The Michael Franck Professional Responsibility Award is named in honor of Michael Franck, late director of the State Bar of Michigan and long-time champion of improvements in lawyer regulation in the public interest. From the time of his first major undertaking in the name of legal professionalism—serving as reporter to the ABA Clark Commission investigating the state of lawyer discipline in America—to his final years speaking on the floor of the ABA House of Delegates to promote improvements in the Model Code of Judicial Conduct and the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Michael Franck’s work stood as a benchmark for turning intellectual honesty, compassion, and uncompromising ethics to every aspect of the practice of law.

In an era when lawyers’ dedication to the public good is often questioned, the Michael Franck award brings deserved attention to individuals whose career commitments in areas such as legal ethics, disciplinary enforcement and lawyer professionalism demonstrate the best accomplishments of lawyers.

Although a nominee’s significant contributions to the work of the organized bar merit strong consideration by the selection committee, noteworthy scholarly contributions made in academic settings, creative judicial or legislative initiatives undertaken to advance the professionalism of lawyers, and other related accomplishments will also be given consideration.

In 2003 the Center for Professional Responsibility Coordinating Council voted to change the venue of the Michael Franck Award ceremony to the annual National Conference on Professional Responsibility held each June instead of during the ABA Annual Meeting each August. Due to this venue change, the Council did not select a 2004 award recipient.

Nominations for the 2024 Award are now closed.

Nomination Process

  • Nomination form (pdf)
  • Please attach separate documents which describe the accomplishments, contributions and/ or initiatives of the nominee in the area of professional responsibility. Please include the significance of the nominee’s impact.
  • Please include reports or articles evidencing the nominee’s contributions.
  • A resume of the nominee’s history of involvement in the field of professional responsibility, may be substituted in support of your nomination.
  • Please include up to three letters of support.

The 2024 ABA Michael Franck Professional Responsibility Award will be presented during the 49th ABA National Conference on Professional Responsibility May 29 – 31, 2024 in Denver, CO. 

Please contact us via email with any questions.

2024 Recipient

Susan S. Fortney

Susan S. Fortney J.D., LL.M., J.S.D. is the recipient of the 2024 Michael Franck Professional Responsibility Award. Ms. Fortney is the Stephen R. Alton University Professor and Director of the Program for the Advancement of Legal Ethics at Texas A&M University School of Law. 

Nationally and internationally renowned for her extraordinary research, scholarship, and teaching on legal ethics and the regulation of lawyers. Professor Fortney is also an outstanding, dedicated, and creative public servant, whose work with scholars, lawyers, regulators, courts, and bar organizations demonstrate a commitment to improving lawyer ethics, conduct, and regulation reflect the true spirit of the Michael Franck Award.  Read more

Past Award Recipients