Annual Awards & Scholarship Gala

Since 1976, in honor of the significant contribution of Black attorneys dedicated to the pursuit of excellence, justice, equal opportunity and positive change, the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia, Inc. has held an annual dinner to celebrate up-and-coming law students, practicing attorneys and jurists who embody professionalism, dedication to the profession as well as a commitment to the Black Philadelphia legal community and public communities. The Barristers’ honor deserving local law students with scholarships and awards are presented to outstanding legal professionals. The awards presented include: the J. Austin Norris Award, the Cecil B. Moore Award, and The Honorable A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. Award. You can view the past recipients below:

J. Austin Norris Award

In recognition of J. Austin Norris’ focus on improving the position of Blacks in the Philadelphia legal community and community, the Barristers’ Association presents this award to an attorney of color who has demonstrated distinguished service to the Barristers’, the legal profession and the community at large.

Past recipients of this award include, but are not limited to:

  • The Honorable Curtis C. Carson, Jr.
  • The Honorable William F. Hall, Jr.
  • The Honorable Eugene H. Clarke, Jr
  • Cecil B. Moore (posthumously)
  • Susan Borden
  • The Honorable Robert N. C. Nix, Jr.
  • William T. Coleman
  • Ronald J. Harper
  • The Honorable Doris A. Smith-Ribner
  • Bernard Lee
  • Denise Smyler
  • Danielle Banks
  • Rhonda Hill Wilson
  • Scott Reid, Esquire
  • Prince Altee Thomas, Esquire


Cecil B. Moore Award

As an homage to Cecil B. Moore’s innumerable contributions to the Black community, the Barristers’ Association presents this award to an individual or organization who embodies selfless service to the community.

Past recipients of this award include, but are not limited to:

  • Black United Front
  • The Honorable David P. Richardson
  • Guardian Civic League
  • John Green
  • Dr. Bernard Watson
  • Rev. Dr. Leon Sullivan
  • Julius Winfield Erving, II
  • The Honorable Carol Ann Campbell
  • Roberta West
  • Harriet Tubman House
  • YMCA – West Philadelphia Branch
  • Leigh Skipper
  • Charles Cunningham
  • The Philadelphia NAACP
  • Michael Coard, Esq.
  • Pennsylvania Innocence Project


The Honorable A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. Award

Created in 1993 and first presented to The Honorable A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., this award celebrates Judge Higginbotham’s contributions to the legal profession and our society. The Barristers’ Association honors an individual who possesses the qualities that exemplify Judge Higginbotham’s career, professional excellence, scholarship and commitment to social justice.

Past recipients of this award include, but are not limited to:

  • The Honorable Robert N. C. Nix, Jr.
  • The Honorable Doris A. Smith-Ribner
  • Raymond A. Brown
  • Justice Juanita Kidd Stout
  • The Honorable Sheila Woods-Skipper
  • The Honorable Renee Hughes
  • The Honorable Petrese B. Tucker
  • The Honorable J. Curtis Joyner
  • The Honorable Kathryn Streeter–Lewis
  • The Honorable Lillian Harris Ransom