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American Bar Association Accepting Nominations for the E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award

Saturday, April 11, 2020 10:08 AM | Nakia Ruffin

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E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award

About the Award

The E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Awards, administered by the ABA Standing Commit­tee on Professionalism and supported by the E. Smythe Gambrell Fund for Professionalism, recognizes the nation’s exemplary, innovative, and on-going professionalism programs in law schools, bar associations, courts and other legal organiza­tions that help ensure the maintenance of the highest principles of integrity and dedication to the legal profession and the public. Each award carries a $3,500 prize. 

The Gambrell Awards were established in 1991 and are named for E. Smythe Gambrell, ABA and American Bar Foundation president from 1955 to 1956. Gambrell founded the Legal Aid Society in Atlanta, where he practiced law from 1922 until his death in 1986.

Deadline for submissions extended until April 30, 2020. 

2020 E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Awards

2020 Nomination form (downloadble form)

The ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism is accepting nominations for the 2020 E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Awards.  The Awards will be presented during the ABA 2020 Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL at an awards luncheon.

If you believe your organization's professionalism program or project merits national emulation and recognition, we invite you to apply for the 2020 E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Awards presented by the ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism. 

Questions regarding the awards should be directed to Senior Counsel, Theresa Gronkiewicz at (312) 988- 5299 or via email. 

Nomination Guidelines


Law schools, state and local bar associations, court programs and projects, law firms and not-for-profit law-related organizations with professionalism programs or projects are eligible for the awards. Programs/Projects submitted for consideration must be ongoing, easily replicated, and have operated for at least one year prior to the entry deadline.

Programs should all under the broad definition of professionalism, including programs which enhance diversity, inclusion, civility, and well-being of the profession. Past Gambrell Award winning programs/projects are ineligible.

Please Note: Submitted Nominations are maintained and will be considered for two years: the award year of submission and the following award year. Programs nominated but not selected for the Award may not be submitted in consecutive years (e.g., a program/project nominated but not selected for the Award in 2020 should not submit a new application before 2022).

Program/Project Description (not to exceed three pages)

  • Please provide a one-page executive summary of your program/project, and a detailed description of the program/project, including plans for continuing operation.

Assessment of Program/Project (not to exceed three pages)

  • State the specific goals/objectives of the project or program and how it seeks to enhance the professionalism of lawyers and/or law students.
  • State how the success of the program/project is being measured/ evaluated.
  • State how the goals are being met and how they are improving the professionalism of the lawyers and/or law students.

Program/Project Continuation-To Do Kit: (not to exceed three pages)

  • Concisely state how the program/project can be duplicated and implemented by others.
  • Include suggestions or recommendations for improvement or simplification that you would offer to others who might undertake a program/project similar to yours.

Additional Information

  • Provide any additional existing documentation (such as program brochures, news media articles, reports or reportsummaries, or letters of support) demonstrating the effectiveness of the program. Links to resources are appreciated.

Judging Criteria

The purpose of the E. Smythe Gambrell Awards is to recognize effective, on-going professionalism programs and projects that help preserve, promote, and enhance within the entire legal community the highest principles of professionalism, including integrity, civility, competence, fairness, diversity, inclusion, independence, courage, respect, and dedication to the legal profession and to public service. The entries will be reviewed under the direction of the ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism. Factors that will be considered in selecting the winning nominations will be the distinguishing and particularly meritorious features of the program, including, but limited to:

  • Overall quality of the program
  • Ease with which other interested groups throughout the country can replicate the program
  • Established history and success of the program
  • Likelihood of continuation of the program
  • Breadth of the program for all experience levels of law students and/or lawyers
  • Proactive nature of the programs
  • Effectiveness of the program

Past award recipients

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