According to the Preamble of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, a lawyer is called to be a “public citizen”. This obligation, however, is not an easy feat. Luckily, many legal organizations have made it their priority to increase the public’s understanding of our legal and judicial system here in the United States.
How so? One noteworthy example uses entertainment to educate the masses. Ever heard of the Silver Gavel Awards?
For the last 60 years, the ABA Division for Public Education has honored legal media and the arts that bring to light the issues and policies impacting our nation through this annual event. It’s sort of like the Academy Awards of the legal profession.
Each year, the Silver Gavel Awards recognize winners in nine different categories that include TV programs, documentaries, books, radio, commentary, magazines, commentary, drama and literature, and other media on a wide array of subject matters associated with the legal profession. The winners are selected by the ABA Standing Committee on Silver Gavel Awards, made up of 21 people, including the Commission’s Diversity and Education Director – Michelle Silverthorn.
You might be familiar with one of last years winners, Making a Murder, a popular Netflix documentary.
At this time, submissions are open. To enter a medium for the Silver Gavel Awards you must complete an online entry form, pay the $75 entry fee, and submit the work before January 9, 2017. Remember to review the online instructions and/or eligibility criteria before submitting, because there are special instructions for different categories.
The ABA will announce Silver Gavel Finalists on March 8, 2017, and will notify each of the category winners on May 10, 2017.
Current ABA President, Linda A. Klein, will present all of the Silver Gavel Awards at a reception in Washington, DC tentatively scheduled for July 20, 2017. We can’t wait to see what media comes out on top!