Hon. John R. Sticht Disability Achievement Award

Established in 2006 (amended language in 2015), the Hon. John R. Sticht Disability Achievement Award is  presented by the Board of Governors to recognize either a person(s) in the legal profession or a group, organization or employer, who or which furthers the goals of access to justice and the full participation for people with disabilities in the legal profession and justice system or a person(s) with disability who has demonstrated exceptional depth of inner strength, courage in the face of adversity, and tenacity of purpose.

2021 Recipient

Kacie Taylor Nickel proudly serves her community as a Public Defender for the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office. As an attorney with learning disabilities Kacie has always had the additional challenge of compensating for her dyslexia and processing disorder.

By utilizing accommodations, Kacie found a way to rise above her learning differences to provide quality representation to indigent defendants. While Kacie is known for her novel legal arguments and empathetic practice style, she does not limit her passion to the courtroom. As co-chair of the Volunteer Committee and Know Your Rights Committee, Kacie works to help and improve the community around her. She is also an active member of the Rule 11 Committee, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Party Planning Committee, and Pandemic Litigation Team. As an extern mentor, Kacie shares her joy for public defense with law students.

Kacie attributes many of her successes to her time as an extern at the City of Phoenix Veterans Court, as well as to the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office supervisors, mentors, and team members who have spent countless hours brainstorming cases, coordinating volunteer events, working to expand community education efforts, and providing guidance to her.


Previous Recipients

The award has been presented to:

2006     Arizona Center for Disability Law
Office of the Arizona Attorney General
2007 Office of the Pima County Attorney
2008 University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law
Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University
2009 Mesch Clark & Rothschild PC (Tucson)
Quarles & Brady, LLP (Phoenix)
2010 Pima County Public Defender's Office
2011 Industrial Commission of Arizona
2012 Arizona Center for Disability Law
2013 Phoenix School of Law
2014 Attorney General's Office
2015 City of Peoria
2016 Edward L. Myers III
2017 William R. Jones, Jr.
2018 Hon. Lawrence O. Anderson
2019 Bridget O'Brien Swartz
2020 Rose Daly-Rooney
2021 Kacie Taylor Nickel
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