At the 1999 MCBA Awards Dinner, Chief Justice Wallace P. Carson, Jr. concurred with a suggestion made that there be a Marion County Bar Association Award for Professionalism. President Jim Edmonds made having such an award one of his goals; the Board adopted President Edmonds’ proposal to make the award from time to time when warranted. Board members Stephanie Smythe and Tom Elden volunteered to develop criteria for the award. The genesis of the award was an article on professionalism in the State Bar Bulletin co-authored by Chief Justice Carson. Although the Board already honors attorneys for significant contributions to the Bar and to the community, it was decided a Professionalism Award focusing on this aspect would not diminish the significance of other awards made by MCBA.
The Marion County Bar Board will annually receive nominations, and from time to time will award the Marion County Bar Award for Professionalism to an attorney or judge who in the Board’s considered view exemplifies and promotes adherence to the State Bar’s current Statement of Professionalism. In the case of a judge any references to clients in the Statement are not considered. The award honors an officer of the court who by outstanding example, and or through teaching and mentoring, and or through personal leadership exemplifies and promotes the then current State Bar of Oregon Definition of Professionalism. The current definition reads:
Professionalism includes integrity, courtesy, honesty, and willing compliance with the highest ethical standards. Professionalism goes beyond observing the legal profession’s ethical rules: professionalism sensitively and fairly serves the best interests of clients and the public. Professionalism fosters respect and trust among lawyers and between lawyers and the public, promotes the efficient resolution of disputes, simplifies transactions, and makes the practice of law more enjoyable and satisfying.