WASHINGTON, DC. – This year the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society held its 11th Annual Rex Lee Advocacy and Shawn Bentley Public Service Awards luncheon on Monday, May 9th at the Washington Court Hotel near Capitol Hill.
The Rex Lee Advocacy award spotlights those who exhibit the highest ethical standards and excellence in advocacy. The lunch also remembers Shawn Bentley and his contribution to public service by awarding two scholarships to law students who are working in the public arena in Washington, D.C. this summer.
Before introducing his colleague and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senator Mike Lee said the lunch is a “terrific event that encourages us to be mentors and public servants while honoring the memories and examples of Rex Lee and Shawn Bentley, both of whom were great members of our [legal] profession.”
Senator Reid followed by congratulating the room of legal professionals for their notable accomplishments. A former trial lawyer himself, Reid extolled the virtues of attorneys who “speak for those without a voice,” often changing public policy and legal precedent in the process. He encouraged those present to be proud of their profession, but to “make sure people are treated fairly” and to ensure the courthouse remains open to everyone. Senator Reid then helped Judge Griffith present the Shawn Bentley Public Service Awards to law students Ryan Merriman and Hunter Anderson.
DC Court of Appeals Judge Thomas Griffith shared his memories of Shawn Bentley, whose notable public service was tragically cut short. Judge Griffith noted that at the end of the workday on the Hill, he and Shawn talked about the “really important things—faith, life and family.”
Dean James Rasband of the J. Reuben Clark Law School presented the Rex Lee Advocacy Award to Deputy Assistant Attorney General Beth Brinkmann for her lifetime of excellence in oral advocacy. In describing her qualifications, he mentioned an interview Beth gave where she talked about preparing for a Supreme Court oral argument. She talked about completely immersing herself in the facts of the case and working late into the night to prepare. Dean Rasband noted that excellence comes not only from brilliant minds, but also long hours and hard work. Ginny Isaacson, President of the Law Society’s DC Chapter added, “This is a great lesson for law students and attorneys that a lot of hard work precedes excellence. Rex Lee and Shawn Bentley were great examples of that and this lunch seeks to encourage and honor those attributes.”
The mission of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society is to strive through public service and professional excellence to promote fairness and virtue founded upon the rule of law. The Society also seeks to affirm the strength brought by a lawyer’s personal religious conviction. More information and pictures of the event can be found at the Chapter’s website: www.jrclsdc.org or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.