About the Award
The Wm. Reece Smith Jr. National Outstanding Young Lawyer Award recognizes an ABA young lawyer in good standing who exhibits: professional excellence; service to the profession and the bar; service to the community; and/or a reputation for or the advancement of legal ethics and professional responsibility. The award is named in honor of Smith, who chaired the ABA YLD in 1960-61 where he served with distinction before continuing his lifelong service to the American Bar Association and the legal profession. Smith passed away in 2013. Learn More
2016 Winner and Finalists
2015 Winner and Finalists
2014 Winner and Finalists
2013 Winner and Finalists
Nomination process is open May 1, 2018 nomination deadline is December 14, 2018.
Nominees must have been an ABA YLD member in good standing during the specific bar year of the award and at the time of their nomination. Members of the Wm. Reece Smith Jr. National Outstanding Young Lawyer Award Board, current and past ABA YLD Officers, and Constitutional Representatives are not eligible to receive the award.
We strongly encourage you to include your nominee in the preparation of the nomination submission so as to increase the quality of information included therein.
The following organizations/entities may nominate up to one individual for the award:
- An organization affiliated with the YLD; including national, state, local, and specialty affiliates
- A state or local bar association if it does not include a young lawyer section, division, committee or group, and if no stand-alone young lawyer organization exists for its geographic area
Note: Some young lawyer organizations are sections, divisions, or committees of the senior bar while other young lawyer organizations are stand-alone organizations. This provision allows a state or local bar association to nominate a young lawyer so long as it does not have a young lawyer section, division, committee, or other young lawyer component, and so long as there is not stand-alone young lawyer organization for its same geographic region. For example, the Dallas Bar Association would not be allowed to nominate an individual for this award because a stand-alone organization, the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, exists in its geographical area.
- The YLD Executive Board
- Any ABA section, division, commission, committee, or forum
- The Board of the Fellows of the YLD
The nomination must include the following items:
- A completed Wm. Reece Smith Jr. National Outstanding Young Lawyer Award nomination form submitted by an officer of the nominating organization/entity
- A nomination letter from the nominating organization/entity explaining the qualifications of the nominee and setting forth the reasons why the nominee should be awarded the Wm. Reece Smith Jr. National Outstanding Young Lawyer Award
- The nominee's biographical resume, including an explanation of the nominee's bar service, employment and professional history, service to the community, and dedication to legal ethics and professional responsibility
- Two to four letters of recommendation. Examples include letters from the nominee's clients, individuals familiar with the nominee's service to the community, the nominee's current or former employers, fellow practitioners, individuals familiar with the nominee's service to the bar, or any other individual who can explain why the nominee should be awarded the Wm. Reece Smith Jr. National Outstanding Young Lawyer Award
Nomination attachments must be received as one document (either PDF or Microsoft Word format). Fax nominations will not be considered.
Please submit nomination packets to:
Nominees for the Wm. Reece Smith Jr. National Outstanding Young Lawyer Award will be selected based upon four factors:
- Professional excellence
- Service to the profession and the bar
- Service to the community
- Reputation for or advancement of legal ethics and professional responsibility