The Advocate’s Prize is awarded to those practitioners who have accomplished the rare and difficult task of winning a criminal homicide case. The reason for making the award is to give some recognition to the good work being done by members of the criminal defense bar in representing their clients. We are confident that most attorneys defending these serious charges do a good job regardless of the outcome, but we know that every attorney who secures an acquittal has done an outstanding job.
This prize is named for Martin Hanson, and is intended as a compliment to the recipient. Martin Hanson was one of the finest criminal law advocates of his generation, and was a founding director of the Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
The Board of Directors of WACDL decided that the Martin Hanson Memorial Prize is automatic for acquittal on any criminal homicide, and that in certain cases dismissals short of trial will be awarded based upon an evaluation of the merits by the directors from the district in which the dismissal was obtained. The Advocate’s Prize is retroactive to Martin’s date of death in September of 1995.
Procedurally any attorney can be nominated. Self nominations are accepted. The nomination is referred to the directors of the district who confirm the information and send it on to the Board to make the award.