The Arizona State Bar Association Board of Governors has named California Western graduate Judge Lawrence F. Winthrop ’77 as the recipient of the 2015 James A. Walsh Outstanding Jurist Award. Winthrop is assigned to Division One of the Arizona Court of Appeals, where he served as chief judge of the court from 2011 to 2013.
The Board of Governors presents this award to “a judge whose career exemplifies the highest standards of judicial conduct for integrity and independence; who is knowledgeable of the law and faithful to it; who is unswayed by partisan interests, public clamor or fear of criticism; who is patient, dignified and courteous to all who appear before him; and who endeavors to improve the administration.”
Winthrop believes his selection for this award is, at least in part, a result of his work with the Arizona Supreme Court’s Commission on Access to Justice, of which he is the current chair.
“Commission members and the various work groups we have established have worked hard over the last several months to provide our Supreme Court with a number of recommendations to enhance access to justice, particularly for those individuals who by circumstances or choice are representing themselves in civil legal disputes, including domestic relations and housing issues,” says Winthrop.
"I am grateful to the State Bar for its recognition of these efforts, and also for its leadership in promoting access to justice for all Arizonans,” says Winthrop. “I will be accepting the award on behalf of the entire Commission."
Throughout his judicial career, Winthrop has exemplified the high standards of professionalism that California Western expects of its students and graduates. He earns superior scores in the Arizona Commission on Judicial Performance review, with 100 percent marks from Maricopa County lawyers for judicial temperament, and 99 percent for integrity and communication skills.
"Having some perspective from the nearly 40 years that have since passed, I can easily say that the education I received at California Western was equal to anything offered by schools with greater name recognition and higher ranking," he says. "I never felt at a disadvantage in dealing with clients, other lawyers, or in a courtroom, arguing a case before a judge or a jury. As a member of the school’s Council of Visitors for the last several years, I can also say that the quality of education offered at California Western today is even higher, and the school’s commitment to graduating “practice-ready” lawyers is unsurpassed in the legal community.”
In addition to his work with the Access to Justice Commission, Winthrop is active with his musical group, feeney/winthrop, which stages an annual concert to raise money for St. Joseph the Worker, a nonprofit organization devoted to helping the homeless with job training and gainful employment.
"Over the last few years, these concerts have raised several hundreds of thousands of dollars to help address a critical need in our community, and we all have a great time as well,” says Winthrop.
California Western congratulates Judge Winthrop on this prestigious award.