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Florida Supreme Court Justice Harry Lee Anstead receives Stetson’s J. Ben Watkins Award


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Gulfport, Fla. – The Stetson Law Review presented Florida Supreme Court Justice Harry Lee Anstead with the J. Ben Watkins Award for Excellence in the Legal Profession on Nov. 17.

Justice Anstead was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court by Governor Lawton Chiles on Aug. 29, 1994. During his tenure, Justice Anstead initiated a number of changes to internal court procedures to improve the quality and efficiency of the judicial process. He also spear-headed a comprehensive statewide program to improve professionalism among judges, lawyers and law schools in the state. This initiative led to the creation of the Supreme Court of Florida’s Commission on Professionalism and the permanent Center for Professionalism at the Florida Bar. Justice Anstead advanced to the highest judicial office in state government on July 1, 2002, when he became Florida’s 50th chief justice, serving in that capacity through June 2004.

The Stetson Law Review presents the J. Ben Watkins Award to someone who has contributed significantly to the legal community. Inducted into Stetson’s Hall of Fame in September 2006, Watkins has actively practiced law since graduating from Stetson University College of Law in 1949. He served on the law school’s board of overseers for more than two decades and was instrumental in forming the Stetson Law Review.