Award of Special Merit

Established in 1988, the Award of Special Merit is  presented by the Board of Governors to members of the State Bar of Arizona who have made significant contributions to the furtherance of public understanding of the legal system, the administration of justice,  and confidence in the legal profession.   

2017 Recipient  

Bob Gottsfield

HON. ROBERT L. GOTTSFIELD completed his undergraduate studies at the State University of New York, Binghamton where he earned his degree magna cum laude in 1956. He earned his J.D. from Cornell Law School in 1960 and a master’s of counseling in 1981 from Arizona State University. Bob began his legal career as a staff attorney for the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department, in Albany, New York. He then spent 17 years in private practice in Phoenix before being appointed by Governor Babbitt to the bench in 1980. He retired after 35 years on the Superior Court in Maricopa County in March 2015.

As of April 2015, the retired judge founded André House Legal Services, providing assistance to the homeless and veterans. St. Joseph the Worker, an employment services organization, and Central Arizona Shelter Services, which provides housing and other programs will be aided by his work. He also supports the Arizona Bar Foundation and the State Bar’s Military Legal Assistance Committee by linking veterans with pro bono representation.

Judge Gottsfield was inducted into the Maricopa County Bar Association’s Hall of Fame in 2012 and in 2013 earned the State Bar’s James A. Walsh Outstanding Jurist Award. In June 2015, Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Scott Bales honored him with the Chief Justice’s Outstanding Contributions to the Courts Award.


Prior Recipients

The award has been presented to:

1988     Hon. Frank X. Gordon, Jr
1989 Not awarded
1990 Hon. L. Ray Haire
1991 Prof. Charles M. Smith
Hon. Morris K. Udall
1992 Not awarded
1993 Mark I. Harrison
Charles T. Stevens
1994 Hon. Nikki A. Chayet
Patricia A. Sallen
John M. Schlosser
1995 E. Calvin Fuchs II
Duke Nordlinger Stern
1996 Christopher Johns
1997 Michael M. Grant
1998 Not awarded
1999 Hon. Norman S. Fenton
2000 Sen. Marc L. Spitzer
Hon. Thomas A. Zlaket
2001 Timothy M. Hogan
Norman L. Miller
2002 Daniel Cracchiolo
2003 Walter Cheifetz
2004 Hon. Edward E. Davis (posthumously)
2005 Frances L. Johansen
2006 Anthony W. Clark
Susan R. Agrillo
Norma L. Classen
2007 Theodore Campagnolo
Hon. Gary E. Donahoe
2008 Larry C. McVey
Sidney T. Marable (posthumously)
2009 John W. Rogers
2010 Gary R. Stickell
Alex E. Navidad
2011 Hon. Daniel A. Barker
James W. Richardson
2012 Hon. Ann A. Scott Timmer
Stephen Weiss
2013 Mark E. Meltzer
2014 William W. Owsley
2015 David B. Rosenbaum
2016 Gary M. Kula
2017 Robert L. Gottsfield

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