Awards and Recognition Programs

Award recipients are honored each year at our  Annual Award Ceremony during The Florida Bar Annual Convention.

Medal of Honor Awards

In Florida, we are fortunate to have a history of legal greatness. Each year, we recognize worthy individuals with the Medal of Honor Award, FFLA’s highest award for a member of the legal profession. The Medal of Honor may also be awarded to a member of the public or a lawyer not actively engaged in the practice of law who has made outstanding achievements in improving the administration of justice in Florida.

Howard Talenfeld, right, accepts the 2018 Medal of Honor for a Lawyer award from Florida Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company board member Dudley Goodlette.

The Medal of Honor awards program was established in 1977 to recognize those outstanding achievements. The FFLA Medal of Honor Award has two award categories. The first is for a member of The Florida Bar who has demonstrated his or her dedication to the objectives of The Florida Bar as set out in the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar: “…to inculcate in its members the principles of duty and service to the public, to improve the administration of justice, and to advance the science of jurisprudence.”

The second is for a non-lawyer or person not actively engaged in the practice of law who has made an outstanding contribution to the improvement in the administration of justice through research, writing, or other deeds of such character and quality that, in the judgment of FFLA, warrant the highest award that can be bestowed by FFLA.

Previous recipients have included W. Dexter Douglass in 2006, for a lifetime of selfless service, especially for his service as chair of Florida’s Constitutional Revision Commission, and Janet R. McAliley, for her selfless dedication to better lives for children and immigrants through her service to the Dade County School Board and as president of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center.

Medal of Honor Award Recipients  Medal of Honor Award Nomination Form


Goldstein – Van Nortwick Award for Excellence

The Steven M. Goldstein Award for Excellence was established by The Florida Bar Foundation (now FFLA) board of directors in 1995 to honor the memory of Steven M. Goldstein. Goldstein, a former legal services attorney and professor of law at Florida State University College of Law, was a tireless advocate of the legal rights of the poor and disadvantaged and was respected nationally for his dedication to upholding the constitutional rights of those with unpopular causes. For many years, he served as the touchstone by which FFLA measured the significance of its mission and its progress. In 2019, the award was renamed the Goldstein – Van Nortwick Award for Excellence. Former Foundation president William A. Van Nortwick devoted decades of leadership to pro bono and legal services.

This competitive award recognizes a project of significant impact work undertaken by a FFLA grantee. To be eligible, the project must affect a substantial number of poor persons, address an important poverty-law issue, involve a significant commitment of grantee program resources and staff, and reflect legal work which is of a high professional level.

Goldstein Award Recipients


Paul Doyle Children’s Advocacy Award

The Paul Doyle Children’s Advocacy Award honors Paul C. Doyle, Founding Director of our Legal Assistance for the Poor and Law Student Assistance Grant Programs (1991 to 2013) in recognition of his commitment to high-quality legal representation of Florida’s low-income children; for encouraging grantee programs to collaborate across geographic regions in order to bring the benefit of legal advocacy to low-income children regardless of their county of residence; for his strong and consistent support of grantees; and for a career dedicated to promoting high-quality legal representation of the poor. The award recognizes and encourages systemic legal advocacy on behalf of low-income children.

Doyle Award Recipients


Jane Elizabeth Curran Distinguished Service Award

The Jane Elizabeth Curran Distinguished Service Award is named in honor of The Florida Bar Foundation’s first executive director, who, over her 32-year career, was responsible for implementing the nation’s first Interest on Trust Accounts (IOTA) program and spearheading virtually every innovation utilized in the IOTA/IOLTA movement throughout the United States until her retirement. The award is intended to recognize an individual who, over his or her career, has achieved meaningful, effective and lasting increases in access to civil justice for the poor in Florida. The recipients may be legal aid attorneys, FFLA employees, non-lawyer legal aid staff members, or other public service/governmental staff whose work involves the justice system, and whose commitment sets them apart to an extraordinary degree as deserving of such recognition.

Jane Curran Award Recipients


President’s Award for Excellence

The President’s Award for Excellence recognizes outstanding work on behalf of FFLA. The award is presented by the current FFLA president at our Annual Award Ceremony.

President’s Award Recipients