Judge Judith McConnell, California Western professor Michael Dessent, trial attorney Jay Jeffcoat and former law library director Charles Dyer were given the 2005 Bernard E. Witkin Award at a dinner Wednesday. The honor is presented by the Law Library Justice Foundation to honor members of the San Diego legal community for civil leadership and excellence in the teaching, practice, enactment or adjudication of the law.
McConnell, the administrative presiding justice for the Fourth Appellate District, served for 23 years as a trial judge in San Diego. She was twice elected presiding justice of San Diego Superior Court and was named jurist of the year in 2001 by the California Judicial Council.
Dessent is Dean Emeritus, California Western School of Law. He's earned the school's "First Year Law Professor of the Year" award the past three years and has taught at the University of San Diego School of Law, Thomas Jefferson School of Law and the USD Paralegal Program.
Jeffcoat is a partner with DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary. He practices in a variety of litigation areas, including environmental, commercial, title insurance, trust and estates law, and agricultural issues, among others. He also is the senior vice president of the Community, Public and Governmental Relations staff member for the John Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center.
Dyer recently was recognized for his distinguished service to the field of law librarianship by the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), which presented him with the Marion Gould Gallagher Award at its annual conference in July 2005. The retired director of the San Diego County Public Law Library also was recognized by the Southern California Association of Law Libraries for his special advocacy on behalf of California public law libraries at the 2005 AALL Annual Meeting.