James A. Walsh
Outstanding Jurist Award

The Board of Governors presents this award to a judge whose career exemplifies the highest standards of judicial conduct for integrity and independence; who is knowledgeable of the law and faithful to it; who is unswayed by partisan interests, public clamor or fear of criticism; who is patient, dignified and courteous to all who appear before him; and who endeavors to improve the administration of justice and public understanding of, and respect for, the role of law in our society.  The award was established in 1989.

2014 Recipient

Berch, Rebecca

CHIEF JUSTICE REBECCA WHITE BERCH was appointed to the Arizona Supreme Court in 2002 and became the Chief Justice July 1, 2009.  She has served as an appellate judge for more than 16 years.

Before her appointment to the Supreme Court, she served the state as a Court of Appeals Judge (1998-2002), Solicitor General of the State of Arizona, First Assistant (Chief Deputy) Attorney General, and ASU College of Law faculty member.

Following graduation from law school, Justice Berch practiced law in Phoenix, becoming a named partner of her firm in 1984.  In 1986, she joined the faculty at Arizona State University College of Law.  Justice Berch has authored more than a dozen law review articles, two books, and two chapters for books.  She has also authored hundreds of appellate opinions.  The textbook she co-authored, INTRODUCTION TO LEGAL METHOD AND PROCESS, is now in its fifth edition.

Chief Justice Berch serves on the Board of Trustees of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, as Vice-Chair of the ABA Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, and in several other public positions.


Previous Recipients


The award has been presented to:

1989     Hon. James A. Walsh
1990 Hon. William P. Copple
1991 Hon. James Duke Cameron
1992 Hon. Frank X. Gordon, Jr.
1993 Hon. Alice Truman
1994 Hon. Stanley G. Feldman
1995 Hon. Robert B. Buchanan
1996 Hon. James Moeller
1997 Hon. Jack L. Ogg
1998 Hon. Ronald S. Reinstein
1999 Hon. Elizabeth R. Finn
2000 Hon. William C. Canby, Jr.
2001 Hon. Thomas A. Zlaket
2002 Hon. Edward L. Dawson
2003 Hon. Michael Daly Hawkins
2004 Hon. Mary Murphy Schroeder
Hon. George B. Nielsen, Jr.
2005 Hon. Michael D. Ryan
2006 Hon. Stephen M. McNamee
2007 Hon. C. Kimball Rose (posthumously)
2008 Hon. Barry C. Schneider
2009 Chief Justice Ruth V. McGregor
2010 Hon. Barbara Rodriguez Mundell
2011 Hon. John M. Roll (posthumously)
2012 Hon. James M. Marlar
2013 Hon. Robert L. Gottsfield