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June 11, 2024 TIPS Awards

Honoring Excellence: A Guide to ABA TIPS Awards

Jim Carr and Jason E. Hirshon

Acknowledging outstanding contributions, exceptional dedication, and remarkable achievements is crucial for maintaining the high standards of the legal profession. The American Bar Association (ABA) Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) understands the importance of recognizing individuals who have made substantial impacts in the legal profession and bar service. As such, TIPS has several prestigious awards that celebrate excellence in professional and personal life, public service, dedication to justice, and leadership in TIPS.

This article provides a brief description of eight TIPS awards: the Edmund S. Muskie Pro Bono Service Award, the Liberty Achievement Award, the Pursuit of Justice Award, the Robert B. McKay Law Professor Award, the Andrew C. Hecker Memorial Award, the James K. Carroll Leadership Award, the Kirsten Christophe Memorial Award for Excellence in Trial and Insurance Law, and the Excellence in the Advancement of Animal Law Award.

Edmund S. Muskie Pro Bono Service Award

Named after the distinguished senator from the great state of Maine, diplomat, and former secretary of state, the Edmund S. Muskie Pro Bono Service Award recognizes legal professionals who have demonstrated exemplary commitment to public service. This award honors those whose efforts have significantly improved access to justice, public safety, and the overall well-being of the community. Recipients of the Muskie Pro Bono Service Award have demonstrated a deep-rooted dedication to addressing legal and societal challenges, making meaningful contributions that extend beyond the courtroom.

Liberty Achievement Award

The Liberty Achievement Award pays tribute to individuals who have made substantial contributions to advancing the ideals of justice, freedom, and individual rights. This award highlights the importance of defending civil liberties and upholding the principles upon which the United States was founded. Honorees of the Liberty Achievement Award have exhibited exceptional advocacy for civil rights, civil liberties, and the rule of law, ultimately contributing to a more just and equitable society.

Pursuit of Justice Award

The Pursuit of Justice Award is a testament to the relentless pursuit of justice and fairness in the legal field. This award celebrates legal professionals who have gone above and beyond to champion justice, even in the face of adversity. Whether through groundbreaking litigation, innovative legal strategies, or tireless dedication to clients, recipients of the Pursuit of Justice Award embody the unwavering commitment to ensuring that justice is accessible and served.

Robert B. McKay Law Professor Award

In recognition of exceptional legal educators, the Robert B. McKay Law Professor Award highlights the critical role that professors play in shaping the next generation of legal minds. This award acknowledges educators who have demonstrated outstanding teaching, mentoring, and scholarship in the fields of tort, trial, and insurance law. By honoring exceptional professors, the award not only recognizes their individual contributions but also underscores the importance of nurturing a knowledgeable and skilled legal community.

Andrew C. Hecker Memorial Award

The Andrew C. Hecker Memorial Award pays tribute to a TIPS member whose lifetime achievements in the law and community have demonstrated and continue to demonstrate the qualities of leadership, outreach, enthusiasm, professionalism, and pride in TIPS and its accomplishments. The award also recognizes the recipient’s dedication, persistence, and ability to motivate both groups and individuals to achieve goals in a volunteer organization. This award is dedicated to Andrew Hecker, a revered leader and Chair of TIPS who was known for exhibiting the qualities described above and whose life ended early due to cancer.

James K. Carroll Leadership Award

The James K. Carroll Leadership Award recognizes a TIPS member who has exhibited outstanding leadership as a member and leader of TIPS, including a dedication to the furtherance of all aspects of TIPS work and diversity of the Section and its leadership. Jim Carroll was an outstanding member and leader of TIPS, including service as Chair and Finance Officer. He was dedicated to TIPS and served it in many leadership roles. He died unexpectedly in 2009.

Kirsten Christophe Memorial Award for Excellence in Trial and Insurance Law

The Kirsten Christophe Memorial Award is awarded to a TIPS member who exemplifies dedication to TIPS as a member and leader while effectively balancing family life, career, and professional activities. Kirsten was a lifelong TIPS member, having attended TIPS meetings as a youngster when her father was a Council member, as Law Student Liaison to TIPS, and on the TIPS Council, as well as other leadership positions in TIPS. Kirsten was working in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and died in the attack. She was mother to a one-year-old daughter on 9/11.

Excellence in the Advancementof Animal Law Award

The Excellence in the Advancement of Animal Law Award is presented by the TIPS Animal Law Committee to a TIPS Animal Law Committee member whose commitment and leadership have advanced the humane treatment of animals through the law and furthered the field of animal law. The mission of the TIPS Animal Law Committee is to address all issues concerning the intersection of animals and the law to create a paradigm shift resulting in a just world for all.

Nomination Process

The TIPS awards hold great significance in honoring individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the legal profession and TIPS. Whether through their dedication to public service, advocacy for civil liberties, pursuit of justice, leadership of TIPS, furtherance of balanced lives, or commitment to legal education, the recipients of these awards serve as inspirations to legal professionals everywhere. These awards not only celebrate individual accomplishments but also reinforce the principles upon which the legal system is built: justice, equality, and the advancement of the greater good. To learn more about these awards, their past recipients, and the nomination qualifications and procedures, visit

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Jim Carr

James Carr Law

Jim Carr has a solo practice in Colorado focusing on regulatory law. He has served in TIPS leadership positions, including Section Delegate, Council member, Editor-in-Chief of The Brief, and on the Law in Public Service Committee.

Jason E. Hirshon

Sapient Law

Jason E. Hirshon is a partner at Sapient Law in Portland, Oregon, where he focuses on commercial litigation. He has served in numerous TIPS leadership positions and is currently a member of TIPS Council.