Please allow me to announce the good news that Jim was awarded the 2013 Warren Christopher International Lawyer of the Year Award by the California State Bar for his work in Uganda with the judiciary to help juvenile and adult prisoners receive access to justice in a timely manner. The award ceremony, on October 12, was held in San Jose and was attended by many California lawyers interested in international law. We were pleased to be joined in the celebration by some of our family, by Pepperdine School of Law Dean Deanell Tacha, and by a couple of law alumni.
Jim was able to share with the audience the story of how he got involved in Uganda in 2010 and how the justice system has changed in Uganda since then because of the work that he has done with the help of Pepperdine students, professors, and alumni. It was an emotional speech which affected many in the room, as Jim talked about how lives are changed, not only of the prisoners who receive help, but also of those who go to help. Others who spoke that night about Jim’s service to Uganda and offered congratulations were law school alumni Brent Caslin and Eric Hagen, who nominated Jim for this award after accompanying Jim on a juvenile justice trip to Uganda in 2011 and observing first-hand the good work Jim is doing, and Dean Tacha, who plans to make a trip with Jim to Uganda next year.
Jim was very surprised when he was told that he would be given the award. His work in Uganda has never been about recognition, but simply about answering the call to serve. It was a great honor for him to receive this award and to be able to share his story with others. It was a great night for us, for Pepperdine, and for encouraging others to go out and serve.