The Delaware State Bar Association honored Widener Law Dean Linda L. Ammons
and alumna Kimberly E. Connolly Lawson, Esq. ’00 recently with Christopher W. White Distinguished Access to Justice Awards that recognized their contributions to public service.
The Tuesday, Oct. 25 awards breakfast at the Hotel du Pont in Wilmington was held in conjunction with National Pro Bono Week.
Ammons was honored with an award for service to children, in connection with the independent review she conducted into the matter of Delaware pediatrician Dr. Earl Bradley, who was convicted of sexually abusing hundreds of his young patients. The dean performed the review at the request of Gov. Jack Markell. Her work resulted in a 47-page report publicly praised for its thoroughness. The General Assembly unanimously passed a package of nine bills that encapsulated many of the recommendations contained in her report.
“It was huge, what she had to do to get to the bottom of the matter,” James G. McGiffin Jr., Esq., president of the Delaware State Bar Association, said in giving the award. “I think it took her a significant amount of courage to ask the questions she needed to ask.”
The dean thanked the legislative and executive branches of government “for breathing life into the document” and acting on the recommendations she proposed, rather than just reading the report and filing it away.
“I was privileged to contribute to this great state and to our families and our children,” Ammons said.
McGiffin presented Connolly Lawson with an achievement award. Connolly Lawson has volunteered with Delaware’s Office of the Child Advocate her entire legal career.
“She is an absolute model and has been essential to many children in the state, and essential to the work of the Office of the Child Advocate,” McGiffin said.
She is a 2000 cum laude graduate of the school’s Delaware campus and works as a senior associate at Reed Smith in Wilmington, Del. where she serves as a member of the Financial Industry Group, practicing in the area of commercial restructuring and bankruptcy.
The service awards are given in the name of Christopher W. White, a long-time attorney with the Community Legal Aid Society of Delaware, who died in April 2010 at the age of 48. White was widely know and respected for his advocacy work on behalf of the poor, homeless, disabled, elderly, troubled and down-trodden people of Delaware.