Award of Special Merit

Established in April 1988, the Award of Special Merit is  presented by the Board of Governors to members of the State Bar of Arizona who have made significant contributions to the furtherance of public understanding of the legal system, the administration of justice,  and confidence in the legal profession.   

2023 Recipient

Barbara Atwood is the Mary Anne Richey Professor of Law Emerita at the University of Arizona Rogers College of Law where she has taught civil procedure, family law, and related seminars for over thirty-five years. A graduate of Arizona Law, she worked as a trial attorney with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice early in her career and also taught at the University of Houston Law Center.

Barbara has been a Commissioner with the Uniform Law Commission since 2006 and Judge Pro Tem for the Tohono O’odham Nation since 2013. She continues to serve on the boards of nonprofit organizations devoted to social justice and to participate in law reform efforts at the local, state, and national levels. In her academic writings, Barbara has explored topics at the intersection of civil procedure and family law with a focus on issues of voice and representation, family dispute resolution, Native child welfare, and jurisdictional conflicts.

Barbara also enjoys creative writing, particularly poetry and plays. Barbara and her husband Peter Eisner, a sculptor, have two adult sons.


Previous Recipients

The award has been presented to:

1988     Hon. Frank X. Gordon, Jr
1989 Not awarded
1990 Hon. L. Ray Haire
1991 Prof. Charles M. Smith
Hon. Morris K. Udall
1992 Not awarded
1993 Mark I. Harrison
Charles T. Stevens
1994 Hon. Nikki A. Chayet
Patricia A. Sallen
John M. Schlosser
1995 E. Calvin Fuchs II
Duke Nordlinger Stern
1996 Christopher Johns
1997 Michael M. Grant
1998 Not awarded
1999 Hon. Norman S. Fenton
2000 Sen. Marc L. Spitzer
Hon. Thomas A. Zlaket
2001 Timothy M. Hogan
Norman L. Miller
2002 Daniel Cracchiolo
2003 Walter Cheifetz
2004 Hon. Edward E. Davis (posthumously)
2005 Frances L. Johansen
2006 Anthony W. Clark
Susan R. Agrillo
Norma L. Classen
2007 Theodore Campagnolo
Hon. Gary E. Donahoe
2008 Larry C. McVey
Sidney T. Marable (posthumously)
2009 John W. Rogers
2010 Gary R. Stickell
Alex E. Navidad
2011 Hon. Daniel A. Barker
James W. Richardson
2012 Hon. Ann A. Scott Timmer
Stephen Weiss
2013 Mark E. Meltzer
2014 William W. Owsley
2015 David B. Rosenbaum
2016 Gary M. Kula
2017 Robert L. Gottsfield
2018 Hon. Michael P. Pollard
2019 Hon. Dan R. Slayton
2020 Stacy Rupprecht Butler
Denice R. Shepherd
2021 Anne Ronan
2022 Know Your Rights
2023 Barbara Atwood
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