The Austin Bar Foundation will hold its 12th Annual Gala on Saturday, Jan. 31 from 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Austin.
During the event, the Austin Bar Association will raise money for its foundation, along with a Fund-A-Need for two projects within the Central Texas legal community – Volunteer Legal Services and a community education campaign for the new Travis County Courthouse.
It’s become tradition to recognize legal industry leaders at the annual gala through the Distinguished Lawyer Award and the David H. Walter Community Excellence Award. But this will be the first year the Austin Bar Foundation presents the Larry York Mentor Award. The new award will honor a lawyer, who like the late Larry York, has demonstrated exceptional skills and generosity by mentoring young members of the Bar.
Former Chief Justice Woodie Jones will be the first recipient of the award. Jones’ was elected as Chief Justice of the Third Court of Appeals in 2008. While working nearly 40 years in the legal profession, he’s mentored countless numbers of young lawyers. Jones has been a frequent speaker at CLE programs and is a longtime Inns of Court member. He also assists in moot court competitions for law students, as his schedule allows.
Two attorneys will receive the traditional Distinguished Lawyer Award, with Berry Crowley and Louis Pirkey being honored. The Distinguished Lawyer Award is presented each year to attorneys who have practiced more than 30 years and represent the pinnacle of the legal profession. Honorees are selected by past recipients of the Distinguished Lawyer award.
Pirkey is an adjunct professor of trademark law at the University of Texas School of Law, who has also represented and worked with several high profile brands. Crowley runs her own law practice and was the first woman to be elected president of the Texas Young Lawyers’ Association in 1983.
Barbara Ellis, Of Counsel at Locke Lord will receive the 2015 David H. Walter Community Excellence Award. The award is named for former Austin Bar President, David Walter, who believed that one of the greatest responsibilities of being a lawyer was to speak up for people who can’t speak up for themselves. Ellis is receiving the award for her work on the Heart Walk, the fundraising she did for Emancipet and the work she did as former President of Volunteer Legal Services.
The 12th Annual Austin Bar Foundation Gala will also feature a live and silent auction, casino games and music by the White Ghost Shivers.