Awards Criteria

Award Presentations: Friday Night Cocktail Party and Saturday Dinner at our Annual Convention July 25-27, 2024


Trial Lawyer of the Year
(alternates between plaintiff and defense attorneys in odd and even years respectively.)

  1. Candidate has shown excellence in advocacy;
  2. Candidate has a distinguished career;
  3. Candidate has a superb reputation of high ethics and fair play;
  4. Candidate has participated in a recent outstanding result;
  5. Candidate has been committed to service to ABOTA; and/or
  6. Candidate has exemplified the ideals of ABOTA.

Trial Judge of the Year

  1. The Judge is committed to preserving and improving the jury trial system;
  2. The Judge is knowledgeable, prepared, and rules in a timely manner;
  3. The Judge shows an adherence to the evenhanded administration of the rule of law;
  4. The Judge demands professionalism from all lawyers; and
  5. The Judge maintains open and accessible working relationships with the trial bar.


  1. Any or all of the criteria maybe considered in arriving at the selection, giving weight to the various factors. In this way, a person’s career, general background as a lawyer, as well as one or two recent results may be considered.
  2. The person should be a practicing trial lawyer or sitting judge at the time of selection.
  3. The person need not be involved in ABOTA, although the person’s contribution to ABOTA in the past would be something that would be considered as part of factor number 2.
  4. The honor should not be limited geographically to the host chapter.
  5. Persons previously nominated can be nominated again.
  6. Each chapter should form a committee independent of its President to nominate persons for the award.
  7. Each nomination must be submitted by a separate written document, which may include the nominee's curriculum vitae, detailing the reasons why the chapter is nominating said individual. The nomination must be submitted to the appropriate person as designated each year.


  1. The selection process will be made by majority vote of the FLABOTA Board of Directors at the May 13, 2020 telephonic meeting.
  2. Each person present may cast one vote per ballot.
  3. Proxy voting shall be allowed in accordance with the requirements of the FLABOTA Bylaws.
  4. Before the first ballot, a representative from each chapter may give a brief presentation for the chapter’s nominee.
  5. Each person entitled to vote shall cast one ballot. The two nominees with the most votes shall be subjected to another ballot, and the winner will be the nominee who has collected the most total votes.
  6. Before the last vote, the FLABOTA President may allow a brief presentation on behalf of each nominee.
  7. The voting process shall be strictly confidential and the winning nominee shall be the unanimous winner by “acclamation.”

Fran Peacock Coker FLABOTA Community Service Award

Established in March 2006 in memory of Fran Peacock Coker in recognition of her tireless devotion and accomplishments in the area of children’s literacy, an issue so important to the administration of justice and preservation of trial by jury, to be bestowed, from time to time, to an individual, lawyer or non-lawyer, whose dedication to the community exemplifies the character, commitment and accomplishments of Fran Peacock Coker. Nominations are submitted to the Awards Committee which makes its recommendation to the Executive Committee which determines the award recipient.

Joseph P. Milton Professionalism and Civility Award

Established in May 2012 in memory of Past FLABOTA President Joseph P. Milton of Jacksonville, this award is known as the Joseph P. Milton Professionalism and Civility Award, to be bestowed from time to time to a FLABOTA member whose dedication to Professionalism, Civility and Ethics exemplifies the character, commitment to the profession and to the administration of justice, of Joseph P. Milton.

The candidate for this award must have:

      • Conducted themselves with professionalism, civility and the highest degree of ethics, always exhibiting integrity, honor, courtesy and a sense of fair play.
      • Educated the public about the civil justice system and the rule of law.
      • Contributed their skill, knowledge and efforts to enhance and educate the profession.
      • Demonstrated a commitment to serve others.

The existing FLABOTA Awards Committee is charged with determining a suitable candidate for the award. The candidate’s name shall be submitted to the FLABOTA Executive Committee who shall have the final decision on whether to make the award. The award may be made annually but there is no requirement to do so.

Funding for this award will come from a fundraising drive with the proceeds to be donated to the ABOTA Foundation in accordance with Joe Milton’s wishes. A suitable plaque or award will be purchased and located in the Dallas offices of ABOTA, with the names of each recipient to be added whenever the award is given.