2020 E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Awards
The ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism honored the following three outstanding professionalism programs with the 2020 E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Awards:
The Mississippi Access to Justice Commission & The Mississippi Bar's Access to Justice Initiative. This robust state-wide access to justice initiative began as a collaborative effort among various stakeholders in Mississippi, including the Mississippi Supreme Court, the Administrative Office of the Court, chancellors in every judicial district of the state, the MS Bar, the MS Access to Justice Commission, the MS Volunteer Lawyers Project, and various other affinity bar associations from across the state. The Access to Justice Initiative implemented civil legal clinics in every judicial court district throughout Mississippi with the common goal of serving the public and closing the gap to the access to justice. In addition to instilling in lawyers and law students the importance of providing pro bono services and the professional benefits they receive, these legal clinics provide a resource for lawyers and law students to learn new legal specialties, get hands-on experience, and hone existing skills, as well as an opportunity to find mentors. The free legal clinic model was created specifically to be easily duplicated by others. The MS Access to Justice Commission created a Legal Clinic Toolkit with information, forms and everything else needed for other courts and bars to organize and implement a successful legal clinic.
The New York State Judicial Institute on Professionalism in the Law. This program was established to promote awareness of, and adherence to, professional values and ethical behavior by New York lawyers, promote scholarship regarding emerging professionalism and ethics issues in the practice of law, and to facilitate cooperation among practitioners, bar associations, law schools, courts, and civic organizations in addressing matters of professionalism, ethics and public understanding of the legal profession. Diverse attorneys from different practice settings, judges from the appellate and trial courts, and legal educators are appointed by the Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals to serve on the Institute. The Institute holds several convocations around the state, inviting 100-150 people to come together for a day to discuss issues relating to lawyer professionalism. In addition, the Institute created a library of CLE programs covering various ethics and professionalism topics, and recently published a Handbook on Legal Skills and Professional Values, distributed to each newly admitted attorney in New York state.
Florida State University College of Law “Raising the Bar” Professionalism Program. This engaging and interactive program provides support to FSU law students across all three years of law school and assists in the development of professional skills and expectations of behaviors to help them in law school and throughout their legal careers. A collaborative effort with members of FSU law faculty, law students, administrative offices, including career services office, office of student advancement, research center, alumni office as well as in partnership with various bar organizations, including the Florida Bar Center for Professionalism, the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division, the Florida Lawyers Assistance Program, “Raising the Bar” is a voluntary program centered on five major pillars: 1) Personal Productivity & Resilience, 2) Civic Engagement, 3) Relationship Building, 4) Practice Area Exploration, and 5) Technology & Effective Communication. The program includes 20-25 diverse workshops designed around the mastery of skills critical for success in a variety of modern day professional settings, events, an annual professionalism-themed writing competition, a mentoring program and a “Raising the Bar” Professionalism Award, voted on by the graduating class.
If you believe your organization's professionalism program or project merits national emulation and recognition, we invite you to apply for the 2021 E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Awards. Nominations for the 2021 Awards will open in January 2021, and applications will be accepted between January-March.
Questions regarding the awards should be directed to Senior Counsel, Theresa Gronkiewicz at (312) 988- 5299 or via email.