State Bar of Georgia
State Bar of Georgia

2021 Local and Voluntary Bar Awards


In order to encourage and support local and voluntary bars and their service programs, to promote activities which relate to the improvement of the administration of justice, the objectives of the State Bar of Georgia, and the image of lawyers, the State Bar annually sponsors an awards program which recognizes excellence in local and voluntary bar associations. Administered by the Local and Voluntary Bars Committee, awards are presented to winners at the State Bar's Annual Meeting.

Awards are presented for the 2020-21 Bar year which began July 1, 2020, with an exception for the Law Day Award, which may be submitted for events in either 2020 or 2021.

Eligibility and Competition Categories

Each local or voluntary bar association recognized by the State Bar is eligible to submit an entry for the Local and Voluntary Bar Activities Awards. The following categories relating to membership size will be used in judging the Award of Merit, Law Day Award, Newsletter Award and Website Award:

  • Under 50 members
  • 51 to 100 members
  • 101 to 250 members
  • 251 to 500 members
  • 501 or more members

Deadline for Entry

The deadline for entry is May 7, 2021. Entries must be received at the State Bar of Georgia headquarters in Atlanta by 5 p.m. ET on Friday, May 7, to be eligible for judging. Late entries will not be judged.

Form of Entry

Send one copy of your entry to:

State Bar of Georgia
Attn: Ashley Stollar
104 Marietta St. NW, Suite 100
Atlanta, GA 30303

Entries should be submitted separately for each category. Do not bind entries for multiple categories together. Entries in the Award of Merit, Law Day Award, Newsletter Award, Website Award and Thomas R. Burnside Jr. Excellence in Bar Leadership Award categories must be accompanied by a completed copy of the award submission form for that category. After completing the fillable PDF form, please print a copy to accompany any exhibits, scrapbooks or other attachments.


Members of the Local and Voluntary Bars Committee will serve as judges and select the winners. The judges' decisions on winners are final. The judges may make an award, at their discretion, in one or more of the membership categories. Should the committee need further assistance, the president of the State Bar of Georgia will have final determination.

Award Categories

Award of Merit

Download the Award of Merit submission form.

Awards of Merit are given to voluntary bar associations for their dedication to improving relations among local lawyers and devoting endless hours to serving their communities. The bar associations are judged according to size.

Each entry should include the following on the submission form:

  1. A summary of the association's general program;
  2. One current or recently completed principal activity of the association which relates to the improvement of the administration of justice, service to the public, service to the membership, the image of lawyers or other similar goals of the State Bar; and
  3. Specific activities or improvements in the program of the association during the year. (Exhibits, scrapbooks or other attachments are encouraged when appropriate.)

Law Day Award

Download the Law Day Award submission form.

In 1961, Congress declared May 1 as Law Day USA. It is a special time for Americans to celebrate their liberties and rededicate themselves to the ideals of equality and justice under the law. Every year, voluntary bar associations plan Law Day activities in their respective communities to commemorate this occasion. This award will be presented to voluntary bars that provide the best Law Day activities.

Each entry should include an outline of the organization's law day activities on the submission form. (News clippings, photographs, copies of posters, press releases, etc., from the activities are encouraged.)

Best New Entry Award

One or more awards will be given to associations entering the Award of Merit or Law Day Award competitions for the first time within the last four years. This award will be based on excellence of the entry and the judges reserve the right to determine whether the award should be a single award, or one presented in each category, depending primarily upon the degree of new participation. (No separate entry in this category is needed. The committee will make a final determination based on all entries.)

Newsletter Award

Download the Newsletter Award submission form.

This award is presented to voluntary bars that provide the best informational source to their membership.

Budget and frequency of publication should all be addressed in the submission form. For printed newsletters, please submit at least three copies of past issues from the 2020-21 Bar year, depending on frequency of publication. For electronic newsletters, please submit a URL where past issues may be viewed.

Website Award

Download the Website Award submission form.

This award is given to bar associations with websites that exemplify excellence in usefulness, ease of use, content and design in meeting the needs of the website's targeted audience.

Websites will be judged upon the following:

  1. Navigability, ease of use;
  2. Design;
  3. Success in meeting stated objectives and reaching targeted audience;
  4. Content (analytical resources, current news, links);
  5. Innovation and technical excellence.

When submitting a website entry, please provide the answers to the following questions on the submission form:

  1. What is the URL of the site being submitted?
  2. What were the objectives and who is the target audience of the website?
  3. How is the site managed (number of staff involved and individual responsibilities)?
  4. What is the operating budget (include, for example, costs for consultants, editorial, design, technical assistance, ISP costs)?
  5. Describe any major changes or additions made during 2020-21.
  6. Is there anything else you think the judges should know about this entry? (Optional)

Thomas R. Burnside Jr. Excellence in Bar Leadership Award

Download the Burnside Award submission form.

This award is given to honor an individual for a lifetime commitment to the legal profession and the justice system in Georgia through dedicated service to a local or circuit bar, practice area bar or minority bar.

Nominations for the Thomas R. Burnside Jr. Excellence in Bar Leadership Award which meet the following criteria are encouraged:

  1. The nominee should have 15 years or more of cumulative association with local or voluntary bar associations (nominating organization);
  2. The nominee must have 10 years or more of cumulative service to the nominating organization, which must include, but shall not be limited to:
  1. an elected leadership position or appointment to a chair of a committee or section in the nominating organization; and
  2. active participation and support of the programs and public service activities of the nominating organization;
  1. The nominee's service to the nominating organization shall have promoted or improved:
  1. the general reputation of the legal profession in the state of Georgia; and
  2. the provision of legal services to the community served by the nominating organization.

For this award, please submit a letter highlighting the nominee's qualifications, as well as a completed submission form.

The President's Cup

The judges will recommend to the Bar president an award of a traveling President's Cup to the most outstanding local or voluntary bar association from within all membership categories. The State Bar president will have the final decision on this award. Any bar association that submits an entry in any category, with the exception of the Thomas R. Burnside Excellence in Bar Leadership Award, is eligible for the President's Cup. (No separate entry in this category is needed. The committee and State Bar president will determine the recipient.)

Preparation Tips

In describing the association's overall activities, the entry may describe bar meetings (programs, guests, social activities), legal aid participation, legal reference services, public information programs, grievance procedures, opposition to illegal activities in the community, involvement with law students, legal education programs, etc.

The judges will be more interested in knowing the beneficiaries of and participants in such programs and the ingenuity shown in projects rather than in the method of entry presentation.

For More Information

Contact Ashley Stollar at