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May 30, 2023

ABA to honor 2023 award recipients for domestic and sexual violence advocacy and judicial excellence

WASHINGTON, May 30, 2023 — The American Bar Association Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence will award Beth S. Posner, clinical professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law, the 2023 Sharon L. Corbitt Award for exceptional service and leadership and the Honorable Melissa L. Pope, chief judge for the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Tribal Court, the Judith S. Kaye Award for judicial excellence.

The annual awards will be presented in a ceremony at the ABA Annual Meeting in Denver in August. The Sharon L. Corbitt Award honors exceptional service and leadership in efforts to improve the legal response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and/or stalking by a lawyer from any area of practice, including nonprofit, private firm, government, corporate counsel and the judiciary. The Judith S. Kaye Award recognizes dedicated service by judicial officers who demonstrate knowledge of domestic and sexual violence and exemplary leadership developing courtroom responses to these issues.

Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence  Ceremony for Sharon L. Corbitt Award and Judith S. Kaye Award

Friday, August 4, 5:30-7:30 p.m. MST

Hyatt Regency Denver
650 15th St.
Denver, Colorado

This year’s honorees are:

2023 Sharon L. Corbitt Award

Beth S. Posner is a clinical professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law. Domestic violence, sexual assault, family law and Title IX issues have been her area of practice and teaching. Her legal career includes overseeing statewide domestic violence initiatives through what was then Legal Services of North Carolina. She also practiced indigent criminal defense with the North Carolina Office of the Appellate Defender.  From 2003-2013, she held joint positions as an attorney and then managing attorney with Legal Aid of North Carolina. Since 2013, Posner has taught in the Immigration and Civil Clinics and founded and teaches in the Domestic and Sexual Violence Clinic at UNC, in which students represent plaintiffs in state court in domestic violence protection order hearings and other related matters as well as complainants in Title IX and campus sexual misconduct matters. Posner also developed and teaches a seminar on trauma-informed lawyering. Posner is an adviser for several student groups and pro bono projects involving domestic violence, sexual assault, family law, and reproductive justice. She is currently leading UNC’s effort to expand the Carolina Women’s Center. She is a nationally recognized expert and trainer for lawyers, advocates, students, and social services providers on issues related to domestic violence and sexual assault.

2023 Judith S. Kaye Award

Melissa L. Pope is the chief judge of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Tribal Court. She has served and been reappointed in this role since 2011. She also served as an elected chief justice of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Tribal Court of Appeals since 2009. Since 2007, she has taught American Indian Law as an adjunct professor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. Having worked in various assault prevention programs, she also represented clients as an attorney for the Women’s Survival Center of Oakland County. She was the first director of victim services at the Triangle Foundation, now Equality Michigan. She provided direct services to victims of anti-LGBTIQ violence, domestic violence, sexual assault and discrimination. She collected data and reported on the overwhelming level of violence experienced and the discrimination LGBTIQ victims faced in accessing the legal system, medical services and victim services. The experience furthered her commitment to the fundamental belief that equality for one community can only be achieved through the equality of all. Judge Pope has further utilized her knowledge, skills, and passion to build the court system in collaboration with Tribal Council, Tribal Elders, and Tribal Citizens to not only create a Victim Services Department, but integrate trauma-informed, victim-centered, traditional culturally honoring care into the very foundation of the NHBP Tribal Court.

To learn more about the awardees, click here.

This event is free and open to members of the press. For media credentialing, please contact Betsy Adeboyejo at 202-662-1039 or [email protected].

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers 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.