The following LBA members have been recognized for notable contributions to the Louisville legal community and beyond. The LBA will be honoring these members at the 2018 Awards Luncheon on Friday, November 30 at the Marcus Lindsey at 11 a.m.

The luncheon is sold out. Please contact Marisa Motley at or 583-5314 to join the wait list.  Due to space limitations, we will not be accepting walk-ins.


Judge of the Year
Hon. Stephanie Pearce Burke

Hon. Stephanie Pearce Burke, of Jefferson District Court, helped establish the first local Misdemeanor Drug Court where she toils on the front lines of a battle against substance abuse that tears at the fabric of our criminal justice system and society as a whole. Leading a treatment team that includes a dedicated prosecutor and public defender, she demonstrates a personal commitment to the rehabilitation of defendants whose addiction has upended their lives. Regarding her unconventional but highly effective approach, David Mike, Urban Program Supervisor of Jefferson County Specialty Courts, had this to say: “If you were to observe Judge Burke’s drug court docket, you would first notice that she sits at counsel table and the clients come up one at a time and sit across from her and talk with her, with members of the treatment team seated nearby. She rarely wears her robe. She encourages open and honest conversation. She is firm but fair. She shows consistency, which fosters trust . . . thereby building the clients’ self-confidence and increasing their accountability. That increased accountability leads to recovery.”


Firm of Distinction
Wyatt Tarrant & Combs, LLP

Wyatt Tarrant & Combs LLP, which traces its roots back more than 200 years, played a key role in the success of a free expungement clinic conducted last February by the Louisville Urban League and other community organizations. Dubbed the Reily Reentry Project – after lawyer and LBA member Stephen Reily who pledged $300,000 to cover filing fees and other costs – the clinic helped hundreds of people clear their records of old misdemeanor and low-level felony convictions keeping them from employment, housing and other opportunities for advancement. A corps of lawyers from the firm’s Louisville office underwent training and gave up an entire Saturday, some staying late into the evening, to pour over criminal records and draft expungement petitions that would give those served a new lease on life. “People were so appreciative, even people who had been waiting in line for hours and hours,” commented Andrew Payton, the firm’s Chief Marketing Officer and Director of Recruiting. “Quite simply, it was the right thing to do,” added Managing Partner Franklin Jelsma.


Justice Martin E. Johnstone Special Recognition Award
Joseph H. Cohen

Joseph H. Cohen, a partner at Seiller Waterman LLC, served as Bar Counsel to the LBA for more than two decades before relinquishing the position earlier this year. His experience in commercial real estate transactions – including acquisition, development, financing and operations – was instrumental in formation of the Louisville Bar Center, an educational and charitable organization that owns the space where the LBA is headquartered and provides law-related benefits to both the legal community and the general public. He also helped establish Doctors & Lawyers for Kids, a medical-legal partnership that helps low-income children and families overcome barriers to healthy living, as a 501(c)(3) public charity. “On matters big and small, Joe has been a solid source of advice and counsel over the years,” said LBA Executive Director Scott Furkin. “His behind-the-scenes work has contributed immeasurably to our success.”


Judge Benjamin F. Shobe Civility & Professionalism Award
Hon. Lisabeth T. Hughes

Hon. Lisabeth T. Hughes, Deputy Chief Justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court and the LBA’s Judge of the Year in 2012, has been a model of civility and professionalism both on and off the bench. Throughout her career as a lawyer and a trial and appellate court judge, she has displayed the courtesy, sincerity and humility characteristic of this award’s namesake. She is a Master and past president of the Louis D. Brandeis American Inn of Court which promotes legal skills and values with a special emphasis on ethical and responsible advocacy in state and federal courts. Attorney Virginia Snell, current president of the Inn, noted that “Justice Hughes exemplifies how a lawyer can achieve great success yet remain approachable and generous with her time and wisdom. That is invaluable to advancing the Inn’s goals and the development of student members and new lawyers. If the key to civility is treating everyone with kindness and respect, she wrote the book.”


Paul G. Tobin Pro Bono Service Award
W. Bronson Howell

W. Bronson Howell, of Howell & Kidd, has never let a disability – profound hearing loss originating at birth – keep him from assisting those less fortunate. Despite maintaining a busy practice concentrated in immigration and family law, he has been a steadfast volunteer at pro se divorce clinics conducted by the LBA twice a month at the Jefferson County Judicial Center. At these free clinics, he works one-on-one with low-income litigants desperate to dissolve bad marriages or resolve post-decree conflicts but unable to afford an attorney. He helps them complete and file self-help forms and even gives them his cell phone number so they can contact him later as they attempt to navigate complex court procedures. “Bronson has a heart for service,” said his sister and law partner Courtney Howell-Kidd. “Helping others has always been his passion.”


Daniel M. Alvarez Champion for Justice Award
Enid Trucios-Haynes

Enid F. Trucios-Haynes is a professor at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law and a nationally recognized scholar in immigration law. Co-director of the Brandeis Human Rights Advocacy Program, she has worked tirelessly to protect the rights of immigrants, refugees and noncitizens, traveling regularly to the Boone County Jail, Kentucky’s only immigration detention center, to conduct “Know Your Rights” presentations for detainees. Locally, she also helped publish a comprehensive resource guide identifying all the organizations serving the immigrant/noncitizen/refugee community and coordinated a free legal clinic for those eligible for relief from deportation under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. “This new award memorializes a beloved colleague who devoted a great deal of time and energy to speaking on behalf of those without a voice,” remarked LBA President Dean Furman. “We are happy to recognize as the first recipient Professor Trucios-Haynes who has advocated for many of the same causes.”


Frank E. Haddad Jr. Young Lawyer Award
Sarah E. Clay
Madison A. Shoffner

Sarah E. Clay and Madison A. Shoffner are co-recipients of this award in honor of a legendary criminal defense lawyer and lion of the trial bar. In the early stages of their careers, both have demonstrated the skill, work ethic and commitment to excellence personified by this award’s namesake. Ms. Clay, a fifth generation lawyer, worked as a public defender for four years after graduating from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law. She is now a solo practitioner representing clients in a wide range of legal matters including criminal defense, personal injury, contracts and estate law. Ms. Shoffner, also a graduate of the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law, is an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney currently assigned to the Special Victims Unit which prosecutes crimes involving relationship violence and child physical and sexual abuse. She previously served as a judicial intern with Judge McKay Chauvin of Jefferson Circuit Court.


Committee of the Year
Investment Committee
Walter C. Koczot, Chair

The Investment Committee, chaired by Walter C. Koczot of the Glenview Trust Company, is responsible for overseeing the LBA’s investment account within guidelines established by the Board of Directors. The committee vetted several wealth management firms before selecting Hilliard Lyons to manage assets within the account portfolio. At the close of each quarter, the committee meets with Hilliard Lyons representatives to review the account’s performance and make decisions regarding buying, selling or holding individual assets. Because of the committee’s diligence, the LBA has solid financial reserves. Other members of the committee include Mark S. Franklin, Lisa C. Love and Clay M. Stevens.


Section of the Year
Probate & Estate Section
C. Shawn Fox, Chair

Young Lawyers Section
Dwight D. Young, Chair

The Probate & Estate Section, chaired by C. Shawn Fox of Seiller Waterman LLC, and the Young Lawyers Section, chaired by Dwight D. Young of Stites & Harbison PLLC, share the honors this year. The lifeblood of the LBA, sections are where like-minded colleagues discuss the latest legal developments, share practice tips, socialize and participate together in public service activities. Much of the LBA’s continuing legal education programming and many substantive Bar Briefs articles emanate from the sections. This year, both the Probate & Estate Section and the Young Lawyers Section excelled at disseminating useful information, planning fun networking events and promoting the professional development of their members.