Professor Concannon Receives Justice Award From Kansas Supreme Court

Photograph: James Concannon.Professor James M. Concannon received a Justice Award from the Kansas Supreme Court during a special session on Friday, December 14, 2012. The Justice Award is presented as merited to recognize persons or organizations which have contributed significantly to the improvement of justice in Kansas. Concannon was presented to the Court by Washburn University School of Law Distinguished Professor Linda Elrod and Topeka attorney David Heinemann who served as a legislator from Garden City for 27 years.

The Supreme Court recognized Concannon with the Justice Award based on his career-long service to the legal community and, in particular, the courts. Among his principal activities for the improvement of justice in Kansas, Concannon has been a member of the Pattern Instructions for Kansas Civil and Criminal Committees since 2001 and the Judicial Council's Civil Code Advisory Committee since 2008. That Committee, among other activities, restyled and revised the first three articles of the Kansas Code of Civil Procedures and revised time computation standards throughout the Kansas Statutes Annotated.

Concannon also served as a member of the Supreme Court Rules Advisory Committee, from 2010 to 2012, when the Supreme Court adopted sweeping changes to the rules attorneys follow in court cases. A long-time advocate of keeping courts out of politics, Concannon has served on the Kansas Commission on Judicial Performance since 2006. He has represented Kansas on the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws since 1998.

Concannon served as dean of Washburn University School of Law from 1988-2001, and has served as a Distinguished Professor of Law since then. Before serving as law school dean, he had been a member of the law school faculty since 1973. Concannon has authored numerous chapters and legal treatises, including the recent publication of a book detailing the history of the Washburn Law since its founding in 1903 to 2003. Entitled "The Ideal Place...for the Establishment of a Great Law School": History of Washburn Law School 1903-2003, the history was published in June 2012 by the Washburn University School of Law Alumni Association.

The Justice Award consists of a plaque and a $500 stipend. In addition, a permanent plaque listing the names of recipients is on public display in the Judicial Center just outside the courtroom. The stipends have been awarded from earnings on a $10,000 check the Court received in 1987, when its program to reduce delay in the courts was recognized by the Foundation for the Improvement of Justice, a national organization founded by the late James W. Chapman, of Atlanta, Georgia. Kansas was the first state to establish specific time standards for disposing of cases for each of five major case categories. Numerous statements have followed-up such time standards and guidelines.

Any Kansan or Kansas organization, except members of the Supreme Court and their personal staff and the members of the Justice Awards Nominating Committee, is eligible for the award. Previous Washburn Law alumni Justice Award recipients include: Paul E. Wilson, '40, Arno Windscheffel, '34, Robert A. Cobean, '35, Judge Jerry L. Mershon, '61, Jack R. Euler, '53, and Gerald L. Goodell, '58. Other recipients of the award include: Kenneth Bronson, Rev. Wardell A. Chambers, Judge Herbert W. Walton, Lewis L. Ferguson, Marion County Extended Learning, and Justice David Prager.

Posted December 14, 2012.