Call for Nominations! ’24 William Coffey “The Defender” Award

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Call for Nominations! ’24 William Coffey “The Defender” Award

Please consider nominating a colleague for the 2024 William M. Coffey Defender Award – the highest award WACDL gives each year!


The Coffey Defender Award is presented at the Thursday night awards dinner at the Annual Conference to an individual who has made significant contributions to professionalism in the criminal practice. There are no limitations on who may be nominated: judges, prosecutors, defense counsel, non-lawyers, academics, elected officials and legislators, organizations, advocacy groups, etc.


It is important that the criminal defense bar honors and recognizes those who have had a significant impact on the criminal justice system, be it through litigation, legislative action, public policy advocacy, writings, or the development of rules, standards, expectations or demonstrations of practice that strengthen criminal justice. If those who practice criminal defense in pursuit of justice do not honor those who do this work, it is not likely anybody else will do so.


The contributions may be by virtue of teaching, through bar and professional activities, through cumulative career achievements, or by virtue of some specific outstanding achievement in the recent past. Previous recipients have included Dennis Burke, Jim Shellow, Howard Eisenberg, Eric Schulenburg, Dean Strang, Franklyn Gimble, Waring Fincke, Stephen Hurley, Judge Louis Butler, Robert Henak, Nik Kostich, E. Michael McCann, Stephen Glynn, Donna Kuchler, Kathleen Stilling, Jerry Buting, Richard Kaiser, John Birdsall, Michael Cicchini, Chad Lanning, Calving Malone, Deja Vishny, Joe Bugni and former Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson.


Nominations for the William M. Coffey Defender Award can be made in writing directly to WACDL by email, letter, or fax (608-255-3771). The deadline for nominations is March 15, 2024.


There is no prescribed format for nominations. However, please take the time to make the case for your nominee: tell us about the person, provide some background and context, and tell us how he or she meets the criteria noted above. Feel free to submit supporting evidence, including letters of support, media accounts, etc.

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