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VBA Honors Jeanne F. Franklin with Professionalism Award

Friday, August 15, 2014  
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Jeanne F. Franklin, recipient of William B. Spong Jr. Professionalism AwardJeanne F. Franklin received the William B. Spong, Jr. Professionalism Award at the 2014 VBA Summer Meeting. The award recognizes inspiring examples of leadership in the legal profession and to the public.

The honor is named for Sen. William B. Spong Jr., who in addition to an outstanding legal career in private practice served in the Virginia House of Delegates, Virginia Senate and the U.S. Senate. He served as president of the VBA in 1976 and as dean of the William & Mary Law School from 1976-1985.

Franklin opted not to address the banquet audience, but said afterward that had she done so she would have seconded what Jim Hingeley said: “It’s easy to get an award for doing these things when the VBA culture is one of such shared activity.”

“I’m so overwhelmed,” she added. “I don’t know that I merit an award with William Spong’s name on it. There were so many people in that room that night worthy of that award. To get an award with his [Spong’s] name on it, from John Walker on the same night Jim Hingeley got the Groot award – I felt like I’d struck gold before I even got to the casino,” Franklin said. “I’m unbelievably happy to be among these people.”

In presenting the award, VBA President John L. Walker III had these remarks:

"This year, it is my distinct honor to present the Spong Award to Jeannie Franklin of Arlington. A cum laude graduate of Vassar College and a graduate of the University of Virginia Law School, Jeanne, like Jim Hingeley, had the intellectual heft to work anywhere she wanted. She ultimately chose to pursue a solo practice in Northern Virginia and a career dedicated to improving the administration of justice in Virginia, especially for citizens in need.

"Jeanne has been a pillar of the VBA for many years. In 2001, she served as president of the association and she did an exemplary job. She rose to that position based on her extraordinary contributions to the bar and to the public at that time. Based on her remarkable accomplishments since that time, it is clear that in 2001 Jeanne was only getting started," Walker said.

"Her accomplishments are far too numerous to list in their entirety tonight, but I will highlight a few. In addition to her VBA leadership, she has served on the boards of the Virginia Law Foundation, Lawyers Helping Lawyers and countless other organizations. She has served as the chair of the VBA Committee on the Needs of the Mentally Disabled, and chair of the Legislative Study on the Juvenile Insanity Defense in Virginia. She is the current chair of the VBA/VSB Joint Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee. An ADR champion, Jeanne is a certified mediator, an expert in health care law, and a member of the ADR Task Force of the American Health Lawyers Association.

"Perhaps the greatest testament to Jeanne’s leadership is the fact that, whenever she serves on a board or otherwise assists an organization, the organization cannot help but reward Jeanne in a meaningful way. She is a past recipient of Legal Services of Northern Virginia’s Carrico Pro Bono Award, the Alexandria Bar Association’s Community Service and Pro Bono Award, a special declaration of appreciation from Lawyers Helping Lawyers, and a special resolution of appreciation from the Virginia Law Foundation.

"I would be remiss if I did not mention that, when I was involved in the leadership of the Virginia Law Foundation, we underwent a comprehensive, extensive strategic planning process, and when it came time to select the board member to lead that process, the choice was easy. And Jeanne accepted that job with the boundless energy, enthusiasm and good cheer for which she is well known and she did a phenomenal job as always."

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