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2018 Law Day Recap

Saturday, May 12, 2018  
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The Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association annual Law Day lunch was held on Friday, May 4, 2018 at Hickory Hills Country Club. The theme for this year’s Law Day was "Separation of Powers: Framework for Freedom.” Judges, bar members, public officials, honorees and citizens were on hand to hear keynote speaker, the Honorable John D. Ashcroft deliver the Law Day address. Springfield native and SMBA member, Ashcroft shared his unique perspective on separation of powers, having served in the executive branch as Missouri’s Auditor, Attorney General and Governor, in the legislative branch as United States Senator, and as United States Attorney General during the administration of George W. Bush. Following Ashcroft’s remarks, awards were presented in four categories: Distinguished Attorney, Judicial Excellence, Equal Access to Justice, and Liberty Bell Award.

The 2018 Distinguished Attorney Award, which is the highest honor given by the SMBA, went to Bill Hart. In presenting the award, Bryan Wade noted that throughout his career Hart has served as a mentor and a role model, demonstrating leadership, integrity, expertise, compassion and commitment both to the profession and the community.

The Judicial Excellence Award was presented to the Honorable Thomas Mountjoy. This award is recognizes judges who exemplify the highest legal and ethical standards and are actively involved in service to both the legal and non-legal community.

The Equal Access to Justice Award, which recognizes individuals who provide significant pro bono services, was presented to Scott Smith.

The Liberty Bell Award, which recognizes non-lawyers who encourage respect for our legal system, was presented to Paula Baird, former principal at Immaculate Conception, for her work in promoting public education and dramatically increasing participation in the SMBA’s annual essay and poster contests. This year’s theme: Separation of Powers: Framework for Freedom inspired 300 entries in SMBA poster and essay contests. An awards ceremony was held April 7, 2018 to celebrate the young artists and authors entering those contests. The posters were on display at the Library Center for three weeks, during which time tens of thousands passed the inspiring display.

The recipient of the 2018 John D. Ashcroft Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association Scholarship was also announced at the law day lunch. Jacob Haskins, a rising 3L at Missouri University Law School, will receive a $2,000 scholarship to assist in completion of his studies.