Public Service Awards Given at NSBA Annual Meeting

Outgoing Nebraska State Bar Association President J. Scott Paul presents the NSBA Award of Special Merit to Woody Bradford for his pro bono support of families affected by this spring’s flooding. (Photo by Scott Stwart)
Scott Stewart
The Daily Record

La Vista – The Nebraska State Bar Association recognized several members of the legal community last Thursday for their exemplary service to the public.

Outgoing NSBA President J. Scott Paul presented the awards before a performance of “The Defamation Experience” during a general session of the meeting.

The award recipients were:

NSBA Presidents Professionalism Award: G. Michael Fenner.

The NSBA President’s Professional Award is presented to a NSBA member who exemplifies the attributes of the true professional; whose conduct is always consistent with the highest standards of practice; and who displays appropriate courtesy and respect of the public, clients, fellow attorneys, and the justice system. 

The 2019 award is presented to Fenner in recognition of his 46 years of service to the legal community at Creighton University School of Law, the thousands of lawyers he has trained across the state and nation, and his service to the profession through his involvement and leadership in both the Omaha and Nebraska State Bar Associations.

• Award of Special Merit: Woody Bradford.

This award is presented to an individual or organization for services advancing the legal profession, the administration of justice and public interest.

In response to the legal needs arising from the recent flooding in Nebraska, the Volunteer Lawyers Projects partnered with Legal Aid of Nebraska to provide pro bono legal services to victims of flooding. Bradford accepted more than 35 pro bono cases in response to the disaster, representing the residents of the Paradise Lakes in Bellevue.

• The George H. Turner Award: John Atkins and Dan Wintz.

This award is presented to an NSBA member who has demonstrated exemplary efforts in furthering public understanding of the legal system, the administration of justice and confidence in the legal profession. 

This year’s award is presented jointly to Atkins and Wintz. In addition to serving as planning chairs and CLE speakers in 2018 for the Real Estate Probate and Trust Section and co-authoring Chapter 18 of the 2018 Nebraska Probate Manual, they spent considerable time working to modify the National Uniform Directed Trusts Act so it would be compatible with the Nebraska Uniform Trust Code. 

• Award of Appreciation: The Scott and Wendy Moore Family.

This award is presented to an individual, group or organization in recognition of outstanding service creating a better understanding of the legal profession and the administration of justice. 

Since 2005, the Moore family has assisted the Nebraska Lawyers Foundation with its annual gala, the Barristers Ball. In addition to serving as the auctioneers for the event and organizing sponsorships and auction donations, the Moore’s have made this a family affair by enlisting their children and extended family to volunteer at the event. 

With the family’s involvement, the Barristers Ball has become a premier event within the legal community and an important vehicle to support access to justice programs in Nebraska.

• NSBA Diversity Award: Yvonne Sosa.

This award recognizes the outstanding efforts made by firms, organizations, or individual attorneys in promoting diversity in the legal profession in Nebraska.

In addition to serving as a founding chair of the NSBA’s Diversity Section, Sosa serves as a mentor for the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Underserved Law Opportunities Program, which seeks to encourage future law students to provide legal services in underserved communities. She also mentors high school students and is invited annually to speak to students at South High School in Omaha about pursuing a law degree.

• Outstanding Contributor to Women in the Law Award: Megan Belcher.

Belcher is senior vice president and general counsel for The Scoular Company in Omaha.

Belcher is a true champion of women in the practice of law and our future leaders of tomorrow. She advocates for, coaches and facilitates accessible development pathways for developing female leaders in the legal profession. 

She founded Drinks Among Friends, an organization dedicated to bringing women in the legal community together. She has given countless hours of presentations on topics for women in leadership, including seminars for the Women and the Law section, and has supported the development of a number of programs focused on enhancing women’s growth in the law.

Belcher frequently publishes on topics related to leadership and women in the practice of law, including a recent article in The Nebraska Lawyer entitled, “A Call to Action in Pursuit of Gender Equality in the Practice of Law in Nebraska.” Further, she dedicates herself to mentoring young women in the profession.

• Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year: Christin Lovegrove.

Lovegrove is a partner at Heinisch & Lovegrove Law Office in Geneva. 

Lovegrove shares her talents as a lawyer and leader in many capacities within the NSBA. She served as a member and held leadership roles in the Real Estate, Trust & Probate, Young Lawyers and Agricultural Law sections. She is currently the chair of the Real Estate, Trust & Probate Section and incoming chair of the Young Lawyers Section.

In her community, Lovegrove has served on the Fillmore Central School Board since 2012 and the Fillmore County Hospital Foundation Board of Directors since 2010. She has also served on several boards and committees as a part of the United Methodist Church in Geneva and is the founding member of the Young Leaders of Fillmore County.

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