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April 01, 2019

ABA Judicial Division creates civility award to honor late Judge William D. Missouri

WASHINGTON, April 1, 2019 – Maryland Judge William D. Missouri will be honored posthumously this summer by the American Bar Association’s Judicial Division with a new civility award in his name.

The first Honorable William D. Missouri Civility Award will be presented to the judge’s widow, Delores Missouri, at the ABA’s Annual Meeting in San Francisco in August. In subsequent years, it will be presented annually to a lawyer or judge who exhibits exceptional qualities of civility, courtesy and professionalism toward colleagues, litigants and the public. The award may also be presented to a person or organization that promotes civility and professionalism in the legal profession.

“There seems to be a deterioration of civility in the country these days, so we decided to honor the men and women who set an example of civility for others,” said Judge Toni E. Clarke, chair of the Judicial Division. “Judge Missouri was the epitome of civility and professionalism – in the courtroom and in his day-to-day dealings with colleagues, friends and the public.”

Missouri spent 25 years as a Maryland state judge, from 1988 until his retirement in 2010, when he was chief judge of Maryland’s 7th Judicial Circuit, which includes Prince George’s, Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties. He was past chair of the ABA Judicial Division and past chair of the National Conference of State Trial Judges. He died in November 2017 at the age of 77 at his home in Mitchellville, Md.

Missouri worked throughout his career to promote civility and professionalism in the bar, the bench and the community. He taught and encouraged young lawyers to strive for excellence and to become active members of the legal profession.

Mark Martin, former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court and former chair of the ABA Judicial Division, said Missouri “was dignified, patient and respectful while at the same time firmly committed to a set of core principles that made him a leader and a legend among us.”

The award will be presented at the Judicial Division awards luncheon on Friday, Aug. 9, at the Hilton San Francisco Hotel Union Square. For more information on the award, contact Kris Berliant of the ABA Judicial Division at [email protected]. For a photo of Judge Missouri, click here.


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