gambrell professionalism awards, Closeup of business people hands clapping at conference

The ABA’s Standing Committee on Professionalism is seeking nominations for the annual E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Awards, which recognize legal professionalism programs that “ensure the maintenance of the highest principles of integrity and dedication to the legal profession and the public.”

Awards of $3,500 each will be given to “exemplary, innovative, and ongoing professionalism programs” established by law schools, state and local bar associations, court programs and projects, law firms, or not-for-profit law-related organizations. To be considered, programs must be ongoing, easily replicated, and in operation for at least one year.

“The E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award honors innovative professionalism programs that are advancing some of the noblest ideals of the legal profession,” said Stephanie Villinski, Deputy Director of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism and Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism. “We encourage you to submit your nominations for programs or projects that demonstrate a commitment to improving civility, access to justice, lawyer well-being, and diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession.”

Nominations are open until March 31, 2023.

Past Gambrell Professionalism Award Winners

The Gambrell Professionalism Awards, which have honored recipients for more than 30 years, were named for E. Smythe Gambrell, President of the ABA and American Bar Foundation from 1955 to 1956. Gambrell also founded the Legal Aid Society in Atlanta.

In 2023, the ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism granted the following awards:

  • The D.C. Bar Practice Management Advisory Service Managing Money program, which teaches attorneys and their staff how to onboard a new client, create an appropriate fee agreement and earning mechanism, and manage advance fees and expenses, among other topics.
  • Santa Clara University School of Law’s Critical Lawyering Skills Seminar, which uses hands-on problem-based scenarios to help students think strategically about their professional identity and the critical skills they need to successfully practice law, such as communication, active listening, managing one’s work, handling mistakes, self-development, and reflective lawyering.
  • The West Virginia Bar Association’s Lawyer Leadership Program, which fosters leadership in newer lawyers through a weekend session of presentations from experts, interactive sessions, networking opportunities, and interpersonal relationship building.

Details on what should be included in a nomination can be found on the ABA’s website.

Nominations are maintained and will be considered for two years: the year of submission and the following award year. Previous winners are ineligible.

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