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.   

2016 Recipient  

Gary KulaGARY M. KULA is the Executive Director of the City of Phoenix Public Defender Office. He attended the University of Kentucky and Arizona State University as an undergraduate and received his law degree from the Northern Illinois University College of Law. He was sworn into the Illinois bar in 1985 and the Arizona bar in 1989. He started as a Trial Attorney with the Maricopa County Public Defender's Office and later served as the Extern Supervisor. He received the National Association of Counties Award for establishing the Public Defender Extern Program at the ASU College of Law. He opened his criminal defense solo practice in 1994 and accepted a position with the Phoenix Public Defender Office in 1996. He received the Continuing Legal Education Award from the State Bar of Arizona and the Tom Karas Indigent Defense Award from the Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice for his commitment to attorney education. He has spoken at and/or organized over 150 CLE programs during his 30 year legal career. He has also been actively involved in coordinating legal services at the Veterans StandDown for 22 years. 

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

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