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July 30, 2019

ABA to honor two attorneys, community law office at event celebrating government law efforts

WASHINGTON, July 30, 2019 — The American Bar Association Section of State and Local Government Law  will present three awards at next month’s ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco to two individuals and a community law office that have demonstrated a commitment to state and local government law.

Recipients of the 2019 Jefferson B. Fordham Awards are:

·        Frank Schnidman, who will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award
·        C. Elisia Frazier, who will receive the Advocacy Award
·        Knox County Public Defender’s Community Law Office, which will receive the Law Office Accomplishment Award.

Paul Henderson, executive director of the Department of Police Accountability in San Francisco, will be the keynote speaker at the award luncheon on Friday, Aug. 9, at the E&O Kitchen & Bar from Noon-2 p.m. Henderson was named California’s Lawyer of the Year by the California Association of Black Lawyers and is the on-air legal analyst for CBS News.

“Each of these honorees, in their own way, has advanced the practice of state and local government law for the benefit of the communities in which they serve,” said Ronald Kramer, chair of the Section of State and Local Government Law. “They are role models for all state and local government law practitioners.”

The Jefferson B. Fordham Awards are the highest honors given by the ABA Section of State and Local Government Law since 1998. The awards honor the accomplishments of those who have been active in the various areas of state and local government law. The award is named for the section’s first chair in 1949. Fordham diligently served and made the section the national resource for the advancement of State and Local Government Law practice.

The Jefferson B. Fordham awardees are:

Lifetime Achievement Award (Jefferson B. Fordham, Daniel J. Curtin, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award) is presented in recognition of outstanding contributions to the practice of state and local government law by an individual over an entire career, for contributions over several years of service.

o   Schnidman is a former distinguished professor of Urban and Regional Planning, and former John M. DeGrove Eminent Scholar chair, Florida Atlantic University. He practiced law with the international law firm of Greenberg Traurig after serving as director of the University of Miami School of Law Graduate Program in Real Property Development. Schnidman is also the author and co-author of the two-volume, “Handling the Land Use Case,” which was first published in 1984 and is in its 3rd edition His career began in the late 1960’s through the Neighborhood Legal Services and President Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” Model Cities Program. Schnidman wrote the amicus brief in the case for John Norquist, President of the Congress for New Urbanism, cited by Justice John Paul Stevens in the Court’s majority opinion.  He has held global leadership positions and was a charter member of the Urban Land Institute Japan Council. He received his JD degree in 1973 from Albany Law School and a Master of Laws (LL. M.) degree in Environmental Law in 1975 from George Washington University Law School. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Springfield College.

Advocacy Award is presented in recognition of outstanding legal advocacy within the area of state and local government law, this award celebrates excellence in advocacy, both written and otherwise.

o   Frazier is the managing deputy city attorney in the City of Atlanta Law Department. She previously owned her own law firm and serviced individual clients, small legal departments, small businesses, and local governments, including serving as the chief of staff to a CEO of a large metropolitan county. Frazier also served as vice president and associate general counsel to Kaplan Higher Education, senior counsel to International Paper Company and senior counsel, securities transactions to Lincoln National Corporation. Frazier also provided pro bono legal services to low income people and nonprofit organizations through the Georgia Legal Services office, the Georgia Truancy Project and Memphis Area Legal Services. Frazier received her JD degree from Howard University School of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Marketing from Georgia State University.

Law Office Accomplishment Award is presented in recognition of sustained outstanding performance or a specific extraordinary accomplishment by a State and Local Government Law Office. Eligible candidates include all State and Local Government Public Sector Law Offices, including departments or units within such offices.

o   Knox County Public Defender’s Community Law Office is a leader in its commitment to social work services.  In 2003 on the 40th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright, this office became “holistic” by addressing clients’ legal and psychosocial needs it assists clients in achieving maximum self-sufficiency and avoiding future criminal behavior.  The model seeks justice for the client, while working to reduce recidivism and empower them to become productive members of the community. Amongst its services are housing assistance, mental health assistance, substance abuse assistance and the opportunity to get a driver’s license. 

For media credentials to cover the luncheon, contact Betsy Adeboyejo at [email protected]  or (202) 662-1039.

With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.