Graduate Judge Catherine McEwen receives first federal judicial service award at the Florida Supreme Court

1982 Stetson Law graduate and U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Catherine Peek McEwen will be honored at the Florida Supreme Court on Jan. 28 as the first recipient of the Chief Justice’s Distinguished Federal Judicial Service Award. Chief Justice Jorge Labarga will present Judge McEwen with the award recognizing an active or retired federal judge for outstanding and sustained service to the public, especially through pro bono legal services.

“I am incredibly proud that Judge McEwen is being honored with this inaugural award for outstanding public service,” said Stetson Law Dean and Professor of Law Christopher Pietruszkiewicz.  “Judge McEwen is a role model for our students and we are delighted that so many members of the Stetson community share her commitment to serving the community.”

Judge Catherine Peek McEwen received Stetson's J. Ben Watkins Award.

Judge Catherine Peek McEwen received Stetson’s J. Ben Watkins Award in 2009.

The first female judge to serve in the U.S. bankruptcy court in Tampa, Judge McEwen’s longtime commitment to public service includes working with the Bay Area Volunteer Lawyers Program and serving on the 13th Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee for nine years, where she is the immediate past chair. Last year, Judge McEwen helped organize a judicial pro bono summit to educate state and federal judges on how to encourage and contribute to public service.

As president of the Ferguson-White Inn of Court in 2013-2014, Judge McEwen helped found the Wm. Reece Smith Jr. Litigation American Inn of Court which adopted the Homeless Experience Legal Protection pro bono project.

Judge McEwen created a video for the Bankruptcy Pro Bono Pro Se Assistance Project with a grant from the Florida Bar Foundation and assistance from the bankruptcy court, Tampa Bay Bankruptcy Bar Association and Bay Area Legal Services to assist people in bankruptcy matters.

In 2009, Judge McEwen received the J. Ben Watkins award from Stetson University College of Law.

Before serving with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Judge McEwen was an attorney and shareholder at Moffitt, Hart & Herron, today Akerman LLP, and served in private practice. Judge McEwen worked as a sportswriter in Tampa in the 1970s before attending law school at Stetson.

This year’s awards ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 28, at 3:30 p.m. at the Florida Supreme Court. The ceremony will be streamed live at