Stetson Law professional development conference wins American Bar Association award

Stetson University College of Law’s “Professional Development Conference: Campus to Career” has won the 2019 American Bar Association’s E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award.

“We are honored to be recognized by the American Bar Association and presented with the E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award,” said Joann Grages Burnett, Esq., Campus to Career co-chair and associate director of career and professional development. “Receiving this award is a tremendous honor and we are thrilled to be included among so many other wonderful programs.”

Joann Grages Burnett.
Joann Grages Burnett, Esq.

“At Stetson Law, we are committed to preparing students for professional success, no matter which path they choose and are delighted that the work of our planning committee is valued,” said Burnett. “We are proud of what we do and are excited about continuing to grow and expand “Campus and Career.”

The prestigious distinction is renowned in the law community.

“The E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award is a longstanding and well-regarded award,” said Kirsten K. Davis, Ph.D., Campus to Career faculty co-chair and interim assistant dean for student affairs. “Stetson Law has been a leader in legal professionalism education and receiving the award is great feedback that we are providing professional development opportunities that are meaningful to our partners at the bar and on the bench.”

Kirsten K. Davis, Ph.D.

The one-day conference, now in its third year, is planned and organized by a standing committee of staff, faculty and students. The team, which includes the Office of Career and Professional Development, plans and operates the conference annually, and works across campus disciplines to include ideas and expertise from everyone, including Stetson Law alumni and members of the law community at large.  

The conference is geared towards the professional development of first-year law students, but is open to all students and prepares participants for success by introducing and strengthening their knowledge and skills through programs focused on key professional development and professional identity competencies, which included resilience, time management, professionalism, decision-making, planning, civility, self-assessment, mentoring and wellness this past year.

Last February, the “Professional Development Conference: Campus to Career” was held at Stetson Law’s Gulfport campus and included keynote speakers who provided insight about their student-to-professional journey, breakout sessions that offered guidance on a variety of topics, including self-advocacy, teamwork, financial and time management and mentoring and a networking reception. Next year’s conference is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 31, 2020.

The $3,500 award, which was established in 1991, is named after E. Smythe Gambrell who was a former American Bar Association (ABA) and American Bar Foundation president during the 1950s.

The award is administered by the American Bar Association (ABA) Standing Committee on Professionalism and supported by the E. Smythe Gambrell Fund for Professionalism. The award recognizes the nation’s exemplary, innovative and ongoing professionalism programs in law schools, bar associations, courts and other legal organizations that ensure integrity and dedication to the legal profession and public.

The accolade will make a difference during next year’s professional development conference.

“The award funds will directly support the “Professional Development Conference: Campus to Career” in 2020 and other professional development innovations,” said Burnett. “The committee is already in planning mode and this award will help ensure 2020 is the best year yet.”


The E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Awards will be presented during the American Bar Association’s 2019 Annual Meeting at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis in San Francisco, California on Friday, Aug. 9, 2019.