Medal of Honor Award

In Florida, we are fortunate to have a history of such 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. The Medal of Honor awards program was established in 1977 to recognize those outstanding achievements. Award recipients are honored each year at our  Annual Award Ceremony during The Florida Bar Annual Convention.


2024 Medal of Honor Award Nominations

2024 Medal of Honor nominations have closed

Non-Lawyer Nomination Form Lawyer Nomination Form

Medal of Honor Award Recipients

Medal of Honor Award for a Lawyer

The FFLA Medal of Honor Award for a lawyer is presented each year to 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 Medal of Honor Award is the highest award that can be bestowed by FFLA.

Medal of Honor Awards for a Non-Lawyer

The FFLA Medal of Honor Award for a non-lawyer is presented to a 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 the FFLA, warrant the highest award that can be bestowed by FFLA.

YearAward TypeRecipientAchievement
2024LawyerRetired Florida Supreme Court Justice Peggy A. QuinceFor her decades-long legal and judicial career spent in service of the public, her extensive volunteer work on behalf of those less fortunate and her dedication to ensuring the halls of justice are open to all.
2024Non-LawyerDr. Lawrence W. "Larry" TyreeFor his leadership in and stewarding of others through the higher education system to promote equal justice and his devotion to serving The Florida Bar as a volunteer.
2023LawyerDavid B. RothmanFor his dedication, commitment, and tireless volunteer work on behalf of numerous Bar and legal organizations, and his steadfast integrity while representing those facing criminal charges, as well as lawyers facing disciplinary action.
2022LawyerJohn PattersonFor his career-long dedication to increasing local and statewide access to justice for all, his altruistic pro bono efforts, his service in leadership, and his devotion to educating others on the importance of equal access to justice.
2021LawyerHon. Emiliano Jose "E.J." Salcines Jr.For his trailblazing, diverse career of more than 50 years, and his dedication to the administration of justice, public service, and education.
2020LawyerHon. Peter T. FayJudge Fay and Judge King are being honored as co-recipients for their extreme professionalism, dedication to the judiciary, nonstop work ethic, and devotion to justice during a combined 100 years of judicial service.
2020LawyerHon. James Lawrence KingJudge Fay and Judge King are being honored as co-recipients for their extreme professionalism, dedication to the judiciary, nonstop work ethic, and devotion to justice during a combined 100 years of judicial service.
2020Non-LawyerDr. Mimi GrahamFor her dedicated efforts over the course of her career researching and promoting trauma-informed court programs that tackle policy solutions to social problems during the critical period from pregnancy to age three.
2019LawyerMichael A. BedkeFor his exceptional dedication to providing pro bono service, his remarkable advocacy for AIDS patients and domestic violence survivors, his invaluable support developing the No Place Like Home Project and his commitment to improving the lives of veterans, disaster survivors and law students.
2019LawyerRichard C. MilsteinFor his exemplary and unending capacity for pro bono work as a volunteer guardian ad litem for more than 35 years, his leadership and advocacy for marriage equality and civil rights, and his efforts to enact legislation to protect minors in the dependency system.
2018LawyerHoward TalenfeldFor his 40 years of extraordinary service and devotion to Floridians through his pioneering leadership as founder of Florida’s Children First, his indefatigable work to protect the legal rights of children and adults with disabilities, and his zealous advocacy that led to an improved child welfare system.
2018Non-LawyerDr. Louis B. St. PeteryFor his lifetime commitment to improving medical care for children in Florida as a pediatric cardiologist and a phenomenally effective advocate for reform of the state’s Medicaid system, which has led to successful litigation and an immense impact on the care provided to poor children.
2017LawyerJohn F. "Jack" Harkness Jr.For his 37 years of groundbreaking leadership of one of the largest and most successful state Bar's in the nation, his wise counsel to 37 Florida Bar presidents, and his unflagging support of The Florida Bar Foundation and the cause of access to justice.
2017Non-LawyerJane Elizabeth CurranFor her 33 years of visionary leadership of The Florida Bar Foundation as its founding executive director, her immeasurable contributions to the national IOLTA movement, and her tireless advocacy promoting access to justice statewide and nationally.
2016LawyerKathleen Schin McLeroyFor her innovative ideas to increase IOTA revenue, her successful efforts to preserve county funding for legal aid, her leadership of organizations supporting pro bono at the national, state and local level, as well as more than 20 years of direct services to pro bono clients.
2016Non-LawyerKevin GayFor his work as CEO and founder of Operation New Hope to help rebuild Jacksonville's challenged urban communities and give ex-offenders the opportunity to successfully transition home and lead productive lives.
2015LawyerWilliam A. Van Nortwick Jr.For his decades in leadership of virtually every statewide organization and committee involving pro bono and legal services in Florida, for leading the One Campaign to promote pro bono work throughout the state, and for serving as a role model for other judges and lawyers, inspiring greater volunteer participation through his example.
2014LawyerBob ButterworthFor his effective enforcement of victim and consumer protection, environmental, civil rights and anti-trust laws as Florida's longest-serving Attorney General, his noteworthy accomplishments in expanding open government in Florida, and his willingness and capacity to assume difficult jobs when it was crucial to the public good to do so.
2013LawyerRobert C. JosefsbergFor his half century of counsel to governors, judges and clients ranging from a rock star to the poorest of the poor; his dedicated pro bono service to individual clients, as well as legal services and other charitable and community organizations; and his longstanding advocacy for civility in the legal profession.
2012LawyerHenry M. Coxe IIIFor his pro bono work, fundraising for legal aid, and leadership of the organized Bar.
2011LawyerBruce B. BlackwellFor his professional leadership, both by example and through service to the organized Bar; for his work to secure funding for legal aid locally, statewide and nationally; and for his extensive history of handling the most difficult pro bono cases, often going well beyond providing legal help to become a transformative force in his clients' lives.
2011Non-LawyerKathleen "Katie" SelfFor her pioneering work in the implementation of Teen Courts across Florida; the volunteering of her services in establishing the Teen Court of Sarasota, the state's first; and for her leadership in expanding the program to 50 Florida counties that together divert more than 22,000 at-risk children into Teen Courts every year.
2010LawyerJoseph P. MiltonFor his leadership in promoting professionalism and ethics to his fellow attorneys through his extensive service to the bar and by setting the highest example in his own law practice.
2009LawyerSylvia H. WalboltFor her 45 years of providing free legal services to clients ranging from Guantanamo detainees to a St. Petersburg organization that feeds the hungry.
2008LawyerTerrence RussellFor his exceptional lifelong compassion and undaunting efforts to secure state funding for legal assistance for the poor through the Florida Access to Civil Legal Assistance Act.
2008Non-LawyerElizabeth Lander "Budd" BellFor over four decades of volunteer advocacy to improve the lives of Florida's children, elderly and disabled persons.
2007LawyerA. Hamilton CookeFor his many contributions to providing access to justice for those living in poverty throughout Florida, and his tireless service to HabiJax.
2007Non-LawyerDr. Walter F. LambertFor his life's work as a medical advocate for abused and neglected children, and for his significant volunteer work for South Florida children in foster care.
2006LawyerW. Dexter DouglassFor a lifetime of service and sacrifice, particularly as chair of the Constitutional Revision Commission in 1998.
2006Non-LawyerJanet McAlileyFor selfless dedication to the better lives of children and immigrants, through her service to the Dade County School Board, and as president of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center.
2005LawyerJ. Dudley GoodletteFor spearheading the passage of the Florida Civil Legal Assistance Act.
2005Non-LawyerAbraham S. Fischler, Ed.D.For turning the dreams of countless people into realities through his intellect, commitment, drive and spirit.
2004LawyerWilliam J. SheppardFor a long and distinguished legal career working on behalf of the underprivileged and oppressed, ensuring that "equal justice for all" is not a hollow phrase.
2004Non-LawyerRosalie HeffernanFor giving meaning and substance to the U.S. Constitution by starting an after-school elective called "Constitutional Studies."
2003LawyerRobert M. ErvinFor his unselfish, dedicated career of service to the public and the legal profession.
2003Non-LawyerLois Thacker GraessleFor a lifetime of selfless volunteer service in the pursuit of justice.
2002LawyerMartha W. BarnettFor her outstanding service as immediate past president of the American Bar Association and her commitment to the principles of duty and service to the public.
2002Non-LawyerRaul G. BarreraFor improving the administration of justice by bringing truth to the ideal of equal justice under the law for migrant farmworkers.
2001LawyerPatrick G. EmmanuelFor his distinguished record of active participation and lifelong dedication to the objectives of The Florida Bar.
2001Non-LawyerJohn B. Orr Jr.For his courageous stand against a 1956 package of bills filed in the Florida legislature whose purpose was to perpetuate school segregation.
2000LawyerJoseph W. HatchettFor his distinguished 22-year career of judicial service dedicated to upholding the civil rights of the oppressed, the vulnerable, and the unpopular.
1999LawyerSamuel S. SmithFor his unswerving dedication to the legal profession, and for his leadership in establishing the Guardianship Program of Dade County.
1999Non-LawyerGene MillerFor his integrity as an investigative reporter in the coverage of the murder trials of two wrongfully convicted death row inmates.
1998LawyerBurton YoungFor his distinguished selfless service in working toward the betterment of The Florida Bar and the legal profession.
1998Non-LawyerReverend Fred L. MaxwellFor his leadership in Orlando to provide housing for for the homeless.
1997LawyerJustice Richard W. ErvinFor his achievement and service to the public by improving the institutions of government and the administration of justice in Florida.
1996LawyerWilliam O.E. HenryFor his dedicated leadership to the community, public service in the legal profession, and outstanding efforts in representation of death row inmates.
1996Non-LawyerJean F. NormanFor her efforts and contributions in organizing "Law School for the Layman" and "Helping Children Cope with Divorce" programs for Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.
1995LawyerSteven M. GoldsteinFor devotion of time and energy to providing legal services to the poor, for his voluntary services to the Bar, and for serving as a role model to his colleagues and students at the university law school.
1994LawyerThomas H. Barkdull, Jr.For his distinguished career as a practicing lawyer and appellate judge.
1994Non-LawyerMajor John SmithFor his leadership, dedication and pioneering efforts in establishing the "GUTS" program for at-risk African-American males.
1993LawyerRaymond EhrlichFor his commitment to the highest standards of ethics and professionalism.
1993Non-LawyerElaine Webb-AlvarezFor her outstanding efforts and leadership as a child advocate in the State of Florida.
1992LawyerJames C. AdkinsFor his contributions to the law and legal profession as a member of the Supreme Court of Florida.
1992Non-LawyerAbraham R. BrownFor his tireless efforts to address the spiritual needs of those confined to penal institutions.
1991LawyerThomas LeRoy CollinsFor his dedication to change in Florida's legislature, civil rights and constitutional reform.
1991Non-LawyerMary Ellen BeaverFor her tireless advocacy for legal rights on behalf of migrant farmworkers.
1990LawyerJanet RenoFor her dedication to the highest ideals of our institutions of justice, children and the poor.
1990Non-LawyerAudrey Lincourt SchieblerFor her pioneering achievements in improving the administration of justice to abused and neglected children.
1989LawyerNeal R. SonnettFor his commitment and leadership in improving the criminal justice system and in protection of individual rights.
1989Non-LawyerMarshall McDonaldFor his work in improving the State Judicial System by bringing judicial reform and improved judicial compensation standards to Florida.
1988LawyerJames C. Rinaman, Jr.For his work in furthering the public service activities of the organized Bar.
1988Non-LawyerSr. Cathy GormanFor her work to provide access to legal services, housing, health care, education and fair employment standards to migrant farmworkers.
1987LawyerTalbot D'AlemberteFor significant achievements in judicial and legislative reform, civil liberties, legal education, advancement of the legal profession and the work of the organized bar.
1987Non-LawyerRev. A. Leon Lowry, Sr.For community leadership in promoting civil rights through constructive change.
1986LawyerRussell E. CarlisleFor his dedication to the advancement of pro bono service by the legal profession and for his work in carrying IOTA across the nation.
1985LawyerMark HulseyFor his leadership as a member of Florida's judicial qualifications commission and his dedication to the principles of The Florida Bar.
1985Non-LawyerSylvia AlberdiFor her dedication to the ideals of good government in service to the people of Florida as staff director of the Florida Senate's Civil Judiciary Committee.
1984LawyerBen F. OvertonFor leadership of the bench and bar, support for continuing judicial education and service to the public.
1984Non-LawyerMartin A. DyckmanFor his leadership in establishing and maintaining open government in Florida and excellence and accountability in our elected and appointed officials and for support for reform of the state's prison system.
1983LawyerArthur J. England, Jr.For his leadership in establishing the interest on trust accounts in Florida and nationally.
1982Non-LawyerLucy BatchelorFor her work as director of the Human Relations Programs at state correctional facilities.
1981LawyerWm. Reece Smith, Jr.For his long years of service to the Bar in establishing the first judicial nominating commission and for service on behalf of legal services to the poor.
1981Non-LawyerWilliam C. ClarkFor his work as a lay member of Florida's Judicial Qualifications Commission.
1980LawyerChesterfield H. SmithFor his years of dedicated service to the bench and bar.
1979LawyerReubin O'D. AskewFor his leadership in establishing judicial nominating commissions, and for the re-organization of the judicial system.
1978LawyerTobias SimonFor his protection of the rights of the oppressed and the poor and for his advocacy for improved prison conditions in Florida.
1978Non-LawyerRobert A. RosofFor his pioneering work with juvenile offenders at the Dade Marine Institute.
1977LawyerRichard T. Earle, Jr.For his outstanding leadership of Florida's Judicial Qualifications Commission.
Goldstein Award Recipients Jane Curran Award Recipients Doyle Award Recipients