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KBA Awards

KBA Awards

The Kansas Bar Association Awards are annually presented at the KBA Annual Meeting. The Awards Committee, chaired by Sara Beezley, Girard, appreciates your help in bringing worthy nominees from throughout the state of Kansas to the committee's attention!

2020 Awards Nomination Form

Download Nomination Form Deadline was Friday, March 6, 2020

Instructions: Click any header to expand or collapse an award.

Phil Lewis Medal of Distinction

The KBA’s Phil Lewis Medal of Distinction is reserved for individuals or organizations in Kansas who have performed outstanding and conspicuous service at the state, national, or international level in administration of justice, science, the arts, government, philosophy, law, or any other field offering relief or enrichment to others.
  • The recipient need not be a member of the legal profession nor related to it, but the recipient’s service may include responsibility and honor within the legal profession.
  • The award is only given in those years when it is determined that there is a worthy recipient.

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Distinguished Service Award

This award recognizes an individual for continuous longstanding service on behalf of the legal profession or the public, rather than the successful accomplishment of a single task or service.

  • The recipient must be a lawyer and must have made a significant contribution to the altruistic goals of the legal profession or the public.
  • Only one Distinguished Service Award may be given in any one year. However, the award is given only in those years when it is determined that there is a worthy recipient.

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Professionalism Award

This award recognizes an individual who has practiced law for 10 or more years who, by his or her conduct, honesty, integrity, and courtesy, best exemplifies, represents, and encourages other lawyers to follow the highest standards of the legal profession as identified by the KBA Hallmarks of the Profession.

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Pillars of the Community Award

This award is available to a Kansas lawyer and KBA member with a minimum of 10 years active non-specialized, general legal practice in a predominately low-density population area of Kansas. Recipients will have had substantial practice in small or solo law firms or local government service. Requirements are flexible but consideration will be given to the following factors, including how such factors apply to the lawyer’s community:

  • The variety/diversity of law practiced
  • Impact/high profile law work
  • General contributions to the law and legal profession
  • Specific contributions to the legal profession
  • Mentoring and support for legal education
  • Contributions to the State/community
  • Notable civic activities
  • Periods of elected or appointed public/government service
  • Military service
  • Examples of volunteerism and charitable activity
  • Reputation in the organized bar, State and community

This award may be but need not be given every year. More than one recipient can receive the award in a one year.

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Christel Marquardt Trailblazer Award

This award is named in honor of Hon. Christel Marquardt, the first woman to serve as President of the Kansas Bar Association, by recognizing exceptional KBA members who break new ground, shatter glass ceilings, or pave new paths for others to follow. The award is bestowed upon a member who has made innovative contributions to improve the legal profession or our communities, exhibiting courage, leadership, professional excellence, and service to the profession in a manner that makes a substantial and positive impact on all those who follow in his or her footsteps. The award will be given to a KBA member who demonstrates qualities Judge Marquardt has exemplified, such as:

  • Service to the Bar or to the legal profession generally
  • Courage in challenging societal, institutional, or historical barriers
  • Innovation and carving a path for future lawyers through mentorship, hard work, and compassion
  • Leadership by word and example

The Trailblazer Award will be given in years where there is a worthy recipient.

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Distinguished Government Service Award

This award recognizes a Kansas lawyer who has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to government service. The recipient shall be a Kansas lawyer, preferably a member of the KBA, who has demonstrated accomplishments above and beyond those expected from persons engaged in similar government service. The award shall be given only in those years when it is determined that there is a recipient worthy of such award.

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Courageous Judge Award

The KBA created a new award in 2000 to recognize a lawyer or judge who has displayed exceptional courage in the face of adversity, thus bringing credit to the legal profession. Examples of recipients of this type of award in other jurisdictions include a small-town lawyer who defended a politically unpopular defendant and lost most of his livelihood for the next 20 years, an African-American criminal defense attorney who defended two members of the white supremacist movement, and a small-town judge who lost his position because he refused the town council’s request to meet monetary quotas on traffic offenses. This award will be given only in those years when it is determined that there is a worthy recipient.

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Outstanding Young Lawyer

This award recognizes the efforts of a KBA Young Lawyers Section member who has rendered meritorious service to the legal profession, the community, or the KBA.

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Diversity Award

This award recognizes an individual who has shown a continued commitment to diversity; a law firm; corporation; governmental agency, department, or body; law-related organization; or other organization that has significantly advanced diversity by its conduct, as well as by the development and implementation of diversity policies and strategic plans, which include the following criteria:

  • A consistent pattern of the recruitment and hiring of diverse attorneys;
  • The promotion of diverse attorneys;
  • The existence of overall diversity in the workplace;
  • Cultivating a friendly climate within a law firm or organization toward diverse attorneys and others;
  • Involvement of diverse members in the planning and setting of policy for diversity;
  • Commitment to mentoring diverse attorneys, and;
  • Consideration and adoption of plans to continue to improve diversity within the law firm or organization, whereas;
  • Diversity shall be defined as differences of gender, skin color, religion, human perspective, as well as disablement.

The award will be given only in those years when it is determined there is a worthy recipient.

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Outstanding Service Award(s)

These awards are given for the purpose of recognizing lawyers and judges for service to the legal profession and/or the KBA and to recognize non-lawyers for especially meritorious deeds or service that significantly advance the administration of justice or the goals of the legal profession and/or the KBA.

  • No more than six Outstanding Service Awards may be given in any one year.
  • Recipients may be lawyers, law firms, judges, non-lawyers, groups of individuals, or organizations.
Outstanding Service Awards may recognize:
  • Law-related projects involving significant contributions of time;
  • Committee or section work for the KBA substantially exceeding that normally expected of a committee or section member;
  • Work by a public official that significantly advances the goals of the legal profession or the KBA; and/or
  • Service to the legal profession and the KBA over an extended period of time.

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Pro Bono Award(s)

This award recognizes a lawyer or law firm for the delivery of direct legal services, free of charge, to the poor or, in appropriate instances, to charitable organizations whose primary purpose is to provide other services to the poor.

  • No more than three Pro Bono Awards may be given in any one year.

In addition to the Pro Bono Award, the KBA awards a number of Pro Bono Certificates of Appreciation to lawyers who meet the following criteria:

  • Lawyers who are not employed full time by an organization that has as its primary purpose the provision of free legal services to the poor;
  • Lawyers who, with no expectation of receiving a fee, have provided direct delivery of legal services in civil or criminal matters to a client or client group that does not have the resources to employ compensated counsel;
  • Lawyers who have made a voluntary contribution of a significant portion of time to providing legal services to the poor without charge; and/or
  • Lawyers whose voluntary contributions have resulted in increased access to legal services on the part of low- and moderate-income persons.

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Honorary KBA Membership

This honor is bestowed upon persons who have demonstrated lifelong dedication to the state's citizens, legal and judicial system, and the bar association.

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