Walter E. Craig Distinguished Service Award

Awarded to the attorney who has manifested adherence to the highest principles and tradition of the legal profession and service to the public in the community in which he/she lives.

Nominations are due March 1st and are to include the individual's name; firm if applicable; address & other contact information; the award for which they are being nominated and contact information of the nominators; a summary of their characteristics, experiences, and service that qualifies them for the award; and support letters from others may be included. The nomination packets should be sent to The Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education, ATTN: Kevin S. Ruegg, 4201 N. 24th Street, Suite 210, Phoenix, AZ 85016 or fax to 602-271-4930.

Awards Acknowledged in conjunction with the Foundation participation in the annual Arizona State Bar Convention.

2016 Award

Hon. Peter Cahill

Peter CahillOver 40 years ago Peter was serving on the front lines of the War on Poverty in rural Arizona first as a VISTA volunteer and then staff attorney with the Pinal and Gila County Legal Society. He treated his clients with compassion and respect as he provided representation to hundreds of low income residents from Casa Grande to the San Carlos Reservation.

              Peter’s contributions continued when he transitioned from legal aid to private practice in the Globe/Miami area. He not only provided pro bono representation to numerous individuals  but also took a leadership role in the statewide effort to increase overall access to legal services by his role first as board member and ultimately as President of the Arizona Bar Foundation.

              When Peter joined the Foundation Board it was beginning its initial discussions of how the newly realized IOLTA funds were going to be distributed. There was not uniform support for the proposition that the majority of the funding should go to the existing Legal Services programs  to provide direct delivery of legal services to low income individuals . Peter was a strong and important voice in insuring that the funding went where it was most needed and could be most effective.

              Peter’s support for the delivery of the state’s legal services programs and their clients continued after he left the Foundation when he helped create and joined the board of the Arizona Justice Institute (now the William E. Morris Institute for Justice).

Peter’s entire legal career has been characterized by his devotion to community service and assistance for those in need.


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2015 Award


William Hardin

William Hardin

As William Hardin's colleagues have stated, he is committed to making Arizona a better place to live and to enhance the lives of all Arizonans. Hardin is not someone who is active in his community, he is the one spearheading multiple initiatives to make our state and country better.  To highlight just a few of the amazing work William Hardin has accomplished: he was a founding member of the now Equality Arizona; he spent two weeks in Louisiana following Hurricane Rita delivering hot meals and supplies; Bill was a key leading role in organizing business community pressure which played a critical role in Governor Brewer’s decision to veto (SB 1062); Hardin, and others from his firm provided the legal support necessary to get (HIV/AIDS) clinical trials up and running.  Those clinical drug trials have been a key component of the FDA approval process for nearly all drugs currently used to treat HIV and AIDS. 

Bill's work epitomizes 'access to justice' by continually to assure that Arizonans, and all Americans, have equal protection under the law.

“It is one thing to idealize social change, another to have been at the forefront of creating it…He is an example of how an attorney can serve both as counselor and strategist.  Through his work on establishing the first statewide gay rights organization, he set the state for me to be an open, proud and productive member of this community.”  (from one of the 20 nomination letters received)

2014 Award

Neal Kurn
Neal KurnHaving practiced fifty years at the Bar, Neal has more than demonstrated is "adherence to the highest principles and traditions of our profession." Neal has given of his time and talents to a host of community philanthropic organizations and been directly responsible for influencing in excess of $150 million to come to those organizations. However, to those who know best, Neal has not only been prodigious fundraiser for charity, but even more importantly, a mentor and wise counsel to those in charge of various charities.

Mr. Kurn handled the transaction whereby the State Bar and Bar Foundation acquired the Evans Kitchell building on First Avenue. It was a milestone for the Bar and it was Neal's dedication and tax expertise that facilitated so meaningful a transaction to both the Bar and the Foundation. Neal served on the Board of Governors of the State Bar and was one of the Foundation's early presidents and Founding Fellows.

Neal has not only established a peerless reputation in the profession but has made countless charitable, cultural, religious and civic organizations the beneficiary of his skill, judgment and leadership.

2013 Award

Barbara Dawson
Barbara DawsonBarbara Dawson's professional achievements as a commercial litigator with Snell & Wilmer alone would make her a worthy candidate for this award, but it is her many years of leadership on access to justice issues that truly show her "adherence to the highest principles and tradition of the legal profession."

In 1991, Barb co-founded a legal clinic that provided legal services to HIV-positive persons and those affected by HIV. She both organized and personally staffed this effort. She recruited more attorneys from her firm and then other firms, all while also securing financial support from the program. The HIV-AIDS Law Project (still alive today and housed with the Volunteer Lawyers Program) has impacted thousands of individuals.

Barb Dawson also spearheaded the ABA′s Judicial Internship Opportunity Program, which places many underprivileged and minority law students with summer judicial clerkships. The national program offers approximately 200 annual judicial internships each year. Other accomplishments include serving as Board President for the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education; serving as the Chair of the State Bar Association Legal Services Committee; serving on the Bar′s Access to Justice Task Force; serving as Chair of the Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation; serving on the Homeward Bound Board of Directors; serving as a member of the Phoenix Public Defender Review Board; and serving as a member of Valley Leadership.

Being a strong leader is not just a role she plays, but also one she seeks out in others. She has made a strong commitment to assisting young lawyers in reaching their full leadership potential, both personally and professional, in our community and internationally.

Barb is a true community connector. She leads by example and asks others to join her in ensuring successful access to justice programs. She is highly respected as a lawyer by her peers and clients, and she has a long record of service to her community.


Past Winners

Justice Michael Ryan

Robert Schmitt

Prof. Robert Bartels

Bill Jones

Michael Flood

William Haug

Ted Schmidt

Daniel J. McAuliffe (Snell & Wilmer, LLP., Phoenix)

Paul Eckstein (Brown & Bain, P.A., Phoenix)

Peter D. Baird (Lewis & Roca LLP, Phoenix)

Mark Harrison (Osborn Maledon PA, Phoenix)

Larry Hammond (Osborn Maledon PA, Phoenix)

Grace McIlvain (Haralson, Miller, Pitt & McAnally)

Kenneth J. Sherk (Fennemore Craig)

John J. Bouma (Snell & Wilmer)

D. Burr Udall (Chandler, Tullar, Udall & Redhair)

Hon. Thomas Tang

Edward Jacobson (Snell & Wilmer)

Ashby I. Loshe

Calvin H. Udall (Fennemore Craig)

John P. Frank (Lewis & Roca)

Elias M. Romley (Sole Practitioner)

Charles E. Ares

H. Karl Mangum

Philip E. vonAmmon

Mark Wilmer