Recipient of the CABA 2015 Professionalism Award
The CABA Professionalism Award recognizes a CABA member who, as practicing attorney, has demonstrated consistent adherence to professional standards of practice, ethics, integrity, civility, and courtesy. The recipient is chosen by a committee that includes the senior judges or their designees, from each of the state and federal courts in the tri-county capital area that CABA serves. The Award recognizes a lawyer who has encouraged respect for, and avoided abuse of, the law and its procedures, participants, and processes; who has shown commitment to the practice as a learned profession, and to the vigorous representation of clients; and who has made a significant contribution to public service.
CABA received a large number of qualified and impressive nominees this year. The committee initially bemoaned the task of choosing one among them. But then several judges and others spoke, based on years of personal observations, of the work, professionalism and unfailing courtesy of this year's honoree. After one preliminary vote, the decision was by acclamation.
This year's recipient has demonstrated the highest adherence to the standards of ethics, integrity, civility, and courtesy. He has done so consistently, for four decades and counting, in the emotional field of family law, including divorce and child custody cases, where these traits are not always easily demonstrated or maintained. He has consistently encouraged both the parties and their lawyers to have respect for the law and its processes.
William Wright was born in Jackson. He graduated from Murrah High School, received a B.A. and an M.B.A. from the University of Southern Mississippi, served as lieutenant in the United States Army with the lst Infantry Division, and then earned his law degree from Ole Miss in 1974, where he was business manager of the Law Review.
He practices with Wright Law Firm, in Ridgeland, a firm of five lawyers with a statewide practice limited to the field of family law. William and his firm have been honored for their work in ways too numerous to list tonight. To mention just some of them, William is one of three Mississippi fellows in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the state's only fellow in the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, and one of only 100 U.S. family lawyers who are diplomats in the American College of Family Trial Lawyers. He was recently named a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.
William's service to the bar includes: service on the Taxation Committee of the Family Law Section of the ABA; two terms as Chairman of the Family Law Section of the Mississippi Bar; service on the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Bar Foundation, as a Mississippi Bar Commissioner, and on the Committee on Professional Responsibility. He is also a past President of CABA.
William has a long list of other public service, including service as Chairman of the Board the Metropolitan Jackson YMCA, and of the Downtown YMCA; and service on the boards of The Shepherd's Staff Counseling Center, the Neighborhood Christian Center, and Covenant Presbyterian Preschool.
William and his wife, DeAnn, are the proud parents of two daughters. Julia is a graduate student at Reformed Theological Seminary, and Anna is a pharmacy student at Ole Miss.
Each nominee for the CABA Professionalism Award must be a practicing attorney who demonstrates consistent adherence to the professional standards of practice, ethics, integrity, civility, and courtesy; encourages respect for, and avoided abuse of, the law and its procedures, participants, and processes; and shows a commitment to the practice as a learned profession, to the vigorous representation of clients, and to the attainment of the highest levels of knowledge and skill in the law and contributed significant time and resources to public service.