The Florida Bar Foundation will be accepting nominations for the 2020 Medal of Honor Awards until February 1, 2020.
The Medal of Honor Award is given in two categories. The first category is for members of The Florida Bar, including practicing lawyers, judges, or teachers in the legal field. The second category is for non-lawyers, including lawyers who are not currently practicing. All nominees must be Florida residents.
Nominees in the lawyer category must have a demonstrated dedication to the mission of The Florida Bar Foundation, which seeks to provide greater access to justice in Florida. Nominees must also be demonstrably committed to the purpose of The Florida Bar, which strives to inculcate in its members the principles of duty and service to the public, to improve the administration of justice, and to advance the science of jurisprudence.
Nominees in the non-lawyer category must have made outstanding contributions to the improvement of the administration of justice in Florida through research, writing, or other deeds of significant character and quality. The Foundation does not always award the Medal of Honor in this category each year.
The 2019 Medal of Honor Award in the lawyer category was presented to two lawyers. Tampa lawyer Michael A. Bedke received the award for “his exceptional dedication to providing pro bono service, his remarkable advocacy for AIDS patients and domestic violence survivors and his commitment to improving the lives of veterans, disaster survivors and law students.” Miami lawyer Richard C. Milstein received the award for “his exemplary and unending capacity for pro bono work as a volunteer guardian ad litem for more than 35 years, his leadership and advocacy for marriage equality and civil rights, and his efforts to enact legislation to protect minors in the dependency system.”
Recent recipients of the award also include former executive director of The Florida Bar John F. Harkness Jr., Kathleen S. McLeroy of Tampa, former First District Court of Appeal Judge William A. Van Nortwick Jr., Robert C. Josefsberg of Miami, and former Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth.
Nominees in the non-lawyer category must have made outstanding contributions to the improvement of the administration of justice in Florida through research, writing, or other deeds of significant character and quality. The Foundation does not always award the Medal of Honor award in this category each year.
The 2018 Medal of Honor Award in the non-lawyer category was presented to pediatric cardiologist Dr. Louis St. Petery of Tallahassee for “his lifetime commitment to help improve medical care for children on Medicaid in Florida.”
Other past recipients of the Medal of Honor Award for a non-lawyer include former executive director of The Florida Bar Foundation Jane Elizabeth Curran of Orlando for her dedication and leadership in creating, implementing, and establishing increased funding through the Interest on Trust Accounts program, Kevin Gay of Jacksonville for his work as founder and CEO of Operation New Hope, and Kathleen “Katie” Self of Sarasota for her pioneering work in the implementation of teen courts across Florida.
Nominations can be completed online at www.TheFloridaBarFoundation.org/medal-of-honor-award. Nomination forms also are available from the Foundation and should be sent to The Florida Bar Foundation, Medal of Honor Awards Program, 875 Concourse Parkway South, Suite 195, Maitland 32751 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Medal of Honor awards will be presented at the Foundation’s annual dinner during The Florida Bar Annual Convention June 18, 2020, at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. For more information, call the Foundation at 407-960-7000.