2018 Outstanding Government Lawyer Award Nominations - Coming Soon

The Government Law Section needs your assistance in nominating possible recipients for this year's Outstanding Government Lawyer, an award given every year at the Government Law Section's Annual Meeting, which will take place at the Texas Bar CLE's second annual Advanced Government Law Seminar in Austin in July, 2018.

We are looking for the best of the best. The award will go to a practicing lawyer employed by the government or employed in a government-law related business who has made an outstanding contribution to government service. The nominee should exemplify the ideals of dedication, professionalism, and ethics in service that have benefited the public or a governmental entity. These factors may include:

  • Excellence as an attorney, advisor, or advocate;
  • Training or education to the public or bar;
  • Involvement in a difficult or important case that advanced a government policy or public purpose;
  • Service to charitable or non-profit entities connected to government law;
  • Advocacy on issues or legislation of importance to the public sector; and/or
  • Service as a mentor or role model for government lawyers.

The deadline for nominations is TBA


2017 Outstanding Government Lawyer: Karen H. Brophy

The Government Law Council created the Outstanding Government Lawyer Award to show their appreciation and to identify one attorney that exemplifies excellence, dedication to public service, their involvement in tough issues of the day, and most importantly serves as a role model and mentor to up and coming attorneys.

This year's Outstanding Government Lawyer Award goes to Ms. Karen H. Brophy, a Senior Assistant City Attorney in the City of Irving. Throughout 40 years of her career she has devoted her skills and expertise to represent cities.

Her career started when she graduated from The University of Texas School of Law, as an assistant city attorney for Dallas in 1977. Further serving as city council in Garland and Carrollton, planning and development services director for the City of Arlington, and in private practice for numerous North Texas cities.

In 2007, she came to the City of Irving as a legal counsel to finance, real estate and economic development counsel as well as advising the Irving Convention and Visitors Bureau. Handling many high-profile matters in her career, the major deals are included with her work in the City of Irving. Such as the Texas stadium lease, substantial bond deals, and multiple contracts related to the entertainment center community venue with $80 Million in public participation.

Karen has given back to the government law community by serving on this Section Council, Texas City Attorney’s Association and the International Municipal Lawyer’s Association being a frequent speaker and author on various municipal and governmental law issues.

Ms. Brophy was not able to accept her award in person. However, she did send in a short video. On her behalf, the City Attorney for the City of Irving, Kuruvilla Oommen, accepted her award.


 2016 Outstanding Government Lawyer: Ryan Kellus Turner

Ryan Kellus Turner was recently honored with the 2016 Outstanding Government Lawyer award from the Government Law Section of the State Bar of Texas. The award was presented at the State Bar's Advanced Government Law seminar in Austin on July 28, 2016. 






 2015 Outstanding Government Lawyer: Marcus Norris

Former Amarillo City Attorney Marcus Norris was recently honored with the 2015 Outstanding Government Lawyer award from the Government Law Section of the State Bar of Texas. The award was presented at the State Bar's Advanced Government Law seminar in Austin on July 30, 2015. 

After fifteen years of service, Norris retired from the City of Amarillo in July. With more than twenty years experience in most aspects of municipal law and administration, Norris was often called upon to teach classes for department directors and other city staff, and to brief elected officials on a variety of laws and current issues. This year also marks the
ninth session of the Texas Legislature in which he participated as a witness providing testimony for and against bills that impact Texas cities.

Norris has served on the Board of Trustees at Hardin Simmons University since 2011. He has also served as a Texas Municipal League board member, is the former president of the Texas City Attorneys Association, and is treasurer of the Amarillo Area Bar Foundation.

The Government Law Section of the State Bar of Texas has presented the Outstanding Government Lawyer Award for the past five years to recognize an outstanding government lawyer who has provided exemplary service to the profession and the public.



2014 Outstanding Government Lawyer:  Linda Halpern

On July 29, Assistant Attorney General Linda Halpern was named the 2014-2015 Texas Government Law Section Outstanding Government Lawyer at this year's Suing and Defending Governmental Entities seminar in Austin. An eloquent speaker, fierce trial lawyer, and accomplished advocate for the State of Texas, Linda is currently the Manager of Complex Litigation for the Attorney General's General Litigation Division.

Linda was recognized for her 21 years of government law experience in a distinguished 31-year career. Her first government law postings were with the United States Department of Justice from 1983-1989 and from 1998-2000, wherein she represented the United States in complex asbestos litigation, defended various civil cases against the federal government in the District of Columbia, and participated in Winstarlitigation before the United States Court of Claims. Her fine work did not go unrecognized: in 1989, she received a Special Achievement Award from the Department of Justice.

In 2001, Linda came to work for the Texas Attorney General. In her thirteen years there, she initially defended the State of Texas in various cases handled by the General Litigation Division, prosecuted high-dollar civil Medicaid fraud matters as the Deputy Chief of the Civil Medicaid Fraud Division, and then returned as Manager of Complex Litigation, where she most recently defended the State of Texas in the school finance litigation in federal court.

The Government Law Section proudly recognizes Linda Halpern as one of the finest lawyers in the State of Texas.


2014 Outgoing Chair: Joan Marshall Recognized by Council


Outgoing Council Chair Joan Marshall was recognized at the Government Lawyers Section Annual Meeting on July 30, 2014, for her service. A stalwart member of the Council and its leadership for many years, Joan's tenure as Chair was marked by increases in section membership and attendance at the section-sponsored Government Law Boot Camp, and by the revamp of the section webpage. New chair Kathy Davis presented Joan a commemorative plaque along with the appreciation of the Council for her service and friendship.



 2013 Outstanding Government Lawyer:  Stephen Sanders

Stephen Sanders is Chief Counsel for the Department of Defense’s Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) in Dallas. A 1982 graduate of Baylor Law School, Sanders was also Assistant Counsel for the DCMA - Lockheed Martin Fort Worth between 1997 and 2013, and a Judge Advocate General (JAG) officer from 1987 to 1997.

An expert in the administration of government contracts, Sanders has been the recipient of many honors related to his work for DCMA, including the Meritorious Civilian Service Award, the Global War on Terrorism Civilian Service Medal, the DCMA Peer Recognition Award, and the DCMA “Keeping the Promise” Award.

Exemplifying the values and achievements of government law practice, Stephen Sanders was the Government Law Section’s 2013 recipient of the Outstanding Government Lawyer Award.