CHICAGO, August 1, 2023 — The American Bar Association Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division will present its Solo and Small Firm Awards and a Difference Makers Award at the Keith E. Nelson Memorial Military Law and GPSolo Awards Luncheon at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel at noon MDT on Aug. 4 during the 2023 ABA Annual Meeting.
Scott C. LaBarre, GPSolo chair who died on Dec. 10, 2022, after a brief battle with cancer, will be presented posthumously with the 2022-2023 Difference Maker Award. The award honors individuals who “make a difference” by breaking down barriers, through community service, pro bono work or service to the profession.
LaBarre joined the ABA in 1995 and had many roles throughout the years, including serving on the Board of Governors and as chair of the ABA Commission on Disability Rights. Prior to becoming GPSolo chair, he served two terms on the GPSolo Council, on the Membership Board and on the Young Lawyers Committee.
LaBarre was an active leader in the organized blind movement, serving as chair of the Colorado Center for the Blind, leading the National Association of Blind Lawyers and establishing the Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium. He ran LaBarre Law Offices P.C. in Denver, where he practiced in the fields of employment law, disability rights and international copyright policy.
A Celebration of Life reception in LaBarre’s memory will be held at 5 p.m. Aug. 4 at the Ralph Carr Judicial Center, 2 E. 14th Street in Denver.
James M. Durant III of Plainfield, Illinois, will receive the Solo and Small Firm Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes lifetime achievement by a solo or small firm practitioner who is widely accepted by peers as having consistently achieved distinction in an exemplary way. The recipients are viewed by other solo and small firm practitioners as epitomizing the ideals of the legal profession and of solo and small firm practitioners.
Durant leads a legal staff from across the United States serving 17 U.S. national laboratories, handling management and operation contracts, acquisitions and grants, patent applications and licensing actions totaling over $8 billion annually. He is a principle legal adviser to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science and its Combined Service Center in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Durant is a career senior executive service appointee who began serving DOE in 2013 following a 26-year career with the Air Force, where he retired as a colonel. During his military career, he was appointed as a Judge Advocate, Special Assistant United States Attorney and an International Commissioner for Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Durant is a life fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a fellow of the ABA Young Lawyers Division. He is also an ABA Nelson Award recipient, ABA Difference Makers Award recipient and a three-time Outstanding JAG of the Year Award recipient for the U.S. Air Force. Durant earned a bachelor’s degree and law degree at Howard University.
Legal Entrepreneurs for Justice will receive the Solo and Small Firm Project Award, which recognizes bar leaders and associations for their successful implementation of a project or program specifically targeted to solo and small firm lawyers.
Legal Entrepreneurs for Justice (LEJ) is a small business incubator for socially conscious lawyers providing affordable legal solutions to low and middle-income people in Colorado. LEJ provides training, mentoring, resources and support for lawyers to establish their own law practices. LEJ lawyers are committed to offering predictable pricing and flexible representation options and leveraging technology and innovation from other industries to increase client engagement and efficiency.
Anne-Marie Rábago of Denver will receive the Solo and Small Firm Trainer Award, which recognizes attorneys who have made significant contributions to educating lawyers or law students regarding the opportunities and challenges of a solo and small firm practice.
Rábago is the founder and principal of Modern Juris, which provides tools, training and support to help lawyers build financially sustainable businesses designed to serve the latent legal market. Before founding Modern Juris, Rábago directed the Texas Opportunity & Justice Incubator at the State Bar of Texas from its April 2017 launch. Prior to that, she directed the Access to Law Initiative, the California Western School of Law legal incubator. She has taught at California Western School of Law, the University of California San Diego Extension and Solo Practice University®.
In 2009, she started Rábago Business & Tax Law, APC, and was named an ABA Section of Taxation John S. Nolan Fellow in 2014. She is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, serves as vice chair of the Membership Board and co-chairs the ABA GPSolo Division Programs Board.
Rábago earned a law degree at California Western School of Law and an LL.M. from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law.
With more than 21,000 members, the ABA Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division is committed to providing unique resources exclusively for solo, small firm and general practitioners, who represent half of the nation’s lawyers.
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.