State Bar Annual Awards

Awards Nomination Deadline Extended to August 3, 2020

Due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the nomination deadline for the State Bar's annual awards has been extended. The new deadline is August 3, 2020 at 5 p.m.


Each year at the annual convention, the State Bar of Arizona recognizes exceptional contributions by individuals and organizations that enhance and promote the legal profession.  The Awards Working Group reviews all nominations and forwards its report and recommendations to the Board of Governors for its ultimate selections. The one exception to the process is the President’s Award. 

Click here for the nomination packet.
Email completed nomination packet to carrie.sherman@staff.azbar.org
 mail to:

State Bar of Arizona
Attention: State Bar Awards
4201 N. 24th St, Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85016

Below is a list of the awards, a description of each, and a list of previous recipients by year.

Award of Appreciation: Awarded to that individual or those individuals who are not members of the Bar in recognition of outstanding service toward the creation of a better public understanding of the legal profession and the administration of justice, the judiciary or the legislative process. (Award established in 1989)

Award of Special Merit: Presented to that member or those 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. (Award established in 1988)

Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Award: Recognizing an attorney, judge, employer, organization or bar association that significantly advances diversity and inclusion in the Arizona legal community through creative, strategic, or innovative efforts. (Award established October 2015)

Hon. John R. Sticht Disability Achievement Award: Recognizing either a person(s) in the legal profession or a group, organization or employer, who or which furthers the goals of access to justice and the full participation for people with disabilities in the legal profession and justice system or a person(s) with disability who has demonstrated exceptional depth of inner strength, courage in the face of adversity, and tenacity of purpose. (Award established in 2006; amended language 10/23/15)

James A. Walsh Outstanding Jurist Award: Presented to that 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 or her; and who endeavors to improve the administration of justice and public understanding of, and respect for, the role of law in our society. (Award established in 1989)

Member of the Year Award: Presented to that attorney(s) who has rendered extraordinary contributions to the programs and activities of the State Bar in the prior year.  Hundreds, even thousands, of the Bar's members contribute their time and talent to the work of the Bar, but this award is limited to that individual(s) whose contributions are exceptional. (Award established in 1991) 

Michael C. Cudahy Criminal Justice Award: Recognizing that criminal law prosecutor who  has worked tirelessly to advance the principles of criminal justice by representing the public's interest with integrity, fairness, tenacity, creativity, brilliance and, above all, professionalism. (Award established 3/17/06)

Outstanding In-House Counsel of the Year Award: Recognizing an Arizona in-house counsel that has made outstanding contributions to the in-house counsel practice and the community at large. The recipient of this award is a respected strategic and innovative leader who exemplifies the following traits: sound and trusted judgment, excellent legal and business acumen, vision, leadership, integrity and ethics. (Award established October 2015)

Sharon A. Fullmer Legal Aid Attorney of the Year Award: Recognizing that legal services lawyer in Arizona whose service to low-income people encompasses both aggressive advocacy on behalf of individuals in extreme need as well as impact advocacy designed to address systemic issues affecting significant numbers of low-income people. (Award established in 1997)

Tom Karas Criminal Justice AwardRecognizing that criminal defense practitioner who has worked tirelessly to advance the principles of criminal justice by representing clients or the public with integrity, fairness, tenacity, creativity, brilliance and, above all, professionalism. (Award established 2004; amended language 3/17/06)