J. Ben Watkins Award

Kai and Korey - J. Ben Watkins Award

Mr. J. Ben Watkins graduated from Stetson University College of Law in 1949. While maintaining a trial practice in Tallahassee, and later in Apalachicola, J. Ben Watkins served on the Board of Overseers of Stetson University College of Law. He clerked for Florida Supreme Court Justice Tom Sebring, served as director of the Florida Trial Lawyers' Association, and was President of the Franklin County Bar Association. He established the J. Ben Watkins Private Foundation to assist the less fortunate and to further the educational goals for the less fortunate. 

In grateful appreciation for Mr. Watkins' support and contributions to Stetson Law Review, as well as his continuing efforts and devotion to his community, SLR proudly established the “J. Ben Watkins Award for Professional Excellence in the Practice of Law.” This distinguished award is presented annually to an attorney selected by the Stetson Law ReviewExecutive Board. The award exemplifies J. Ben Watkins' importance to the law school and the legal profession.

Award Recipients

2018

  • Korey L. Henson (pictured above on the left)
    Associate Director of Career and Professional Development at Stetson University College of Law.

 2017

  • The Honorable Michael P. Allen
    Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for Veteran Claims.

 2016

  • Jo Ann Palchak
    White-collar, criminal defense, and complex civil litigation attorney.

 2015

  • Andy Zodrow
    Environmental Attorney with Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County.
    Former Vice Mayor for the City of City of Safety Harbor.

 2014

  • Ellen S. Podgor
    Gary R. Trombley Family White-Collar Crime Research Professor at Stetson University College of Law. 

 2013

  • The Honorable Anthony Porcelli
    Magistrate Judge for the United States District Court of the Middle District of Florida.

 2012

  • The Honorable Ricky Polston
    Justice for the Florida Supreme Court.

 2011

  • The Honorable Charles Canady
    Chief Justice for the Florida Supreme Court.

 2010

  • Stephen N. Zack
    Partner at Boies Schiller Flexner.
    Former President of the American Bar Association.

 2009

  • The Honorable Catherine P. McEwen
    United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Middle District of Florida. 

 2008

  • Benjamin H. Hill III
    Founding Shareholder at Hill Ward Henderson.

 2007

  • Chris W. Altenbernd
    Shareholder at Banker Lopez Gassler.
    Former Judge of the Second District Court of Appeal of Florida.

 2006

  • Harry Lee Anstead
    Former Justice for the Florida Supreme Court.

 2005

  • Phyllis A. Kravitch
    Former Senior Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

 2004

  • The Honorable Virginia M. Hernandez Covington
    Judge for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

 2003

  • Martha Walters Barnett
    Former Partner at Holland & Knight.
    Former President of the American Bar Association. 

 2002

  • Thomas F. Stringer, Sr.
    Former Judge for the Second District Court of Appeal of Florida.

 2001

  • The Honorable Susan C. Bucklew
    Senior Judge for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
    Former Judge for Thirteenth Judicial Circuit of Florida.

 2000

  • Abner Mikva
    Former Chief Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. 
  • Philip J. Padovano
    Judge for the First District Court of Appeal of Florida.
    Former Chief Judge for the Second Judicial Circuit of Florida.

 1999

  • Elizabeth A. Kovachevich
    Senior District Judge for the Middle District of Florida. 

 1998

  • Carol W. Hunstein
    Former Chief Justice for the Supreme Court of Georgia.
  • Ben F. Overton
    Former Chief Justice for the Florida Supreme Court.

 1997

  • Robert D. Batey
    Former Professor at Stetson University College of Law

 1996

  • David A. Demurs
    Former Circuit Judge for the Sixth Judicial Circuit of Florida.
    Former president of the Florida Conference of County Judges.

 1995

  • James C. Dauksch, Jr.
    Former Judge for the Fifth District Court of Appeal of Florida.

 1994

  • The Honorable Charles R. Wilson
    Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
    Former United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida.

 1993

  • The Honorable Rosemary Barkett
    Judge for the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal in The Hague.
    Former Chief Justice for the Florida Supreme Court.
    Former Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.