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The College of Law will host the Annual 2019 Honors Banquet on April 5th, at the UW Conference Center at the Hilton Garden Inn. The evening will commence at 6:00 PM with a reception and cocktail hour, followed by the main program and dinner 7:00 PM. The Banquet allows the College of Law to recognize alumni and students for their exceptional achievements. Some highlights include the acknowledgment of the Distinguished Alumni Award recipients, the Thurman Arnold Distinguished Supporter of the Law School Award recipient, as well as the inductees of the Order of the Coif, Honorary Order of the Coif, the announcement of the Salt Creek Energy Excellence Scholarship recipient, and the prestigious Clarence A. Brimmer Scholarship recipient.
Each year, the Dean’s Advisory Board, which also functions as the Law Alumni Board, is tasked with selecting the recipients for our Distinguished Alumni Awards. This year, the Board has selected the Honorable E. James Burke, Paul J. Hickey, the Honorable Larry L. Lehman, and Richard E. Day.
Originally from Delaware, Justice Burke found his way to Wyoming following his undergraduate education from St. Joseph’s College in Philadelphia, Penn. in 1971. Upon graduation, he entered the U.S. Air Force and was stationed at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne until 1974. He obtained his J.D. from the University of Wyoming in 1977 and engaged in private practice in Cheyenne. He practiced law for Burke, Woodard and O’Donnell in Cheyenne before being named to the Laramie County District Court in 2001.
Following three years on the district court bench, he was appointed to the Wyoming Supreme Court in 2004 by former Gov. Dave Freudenthal, where he remained until his retirement in 2018. He served as Chief Justice from 2014 to 2018.
Justice Burke’s legacy includes the People’s Law School, a program he established to provide the public with a better understanding of our legal system and the lawyer’s role. In the same vein, he was an integral part of implementing the “You be the Judge” program, which also helped to facilitate a better understanding for the public and the role of the judiciary. He was also instrumental in developing the Access to Justice Commission, and was a founding member of the Ewing T. Kerr Chapter of the American Inns of Court and served as the first President of the Inn.
Paul Hickey graduated from the University of Wyoming College of Law in 1975. Upon graduation, he clerked for Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge, James E. Barrett. Thereafter, he was an Assistant Laramie County Attorney where he served as a prosecutor.
Hickey is a partner with Hickey & Evans LLP in Cheyenne, Wyo., a successor firm to Rooney & Horiskey that he joined in 1976. His practice focuses on energy law, but he also has had a substantial trial practice throughout his career. He was a main driving force in the creation of the Summer Trial Institute at the College of Law and has served as a faculty member for the program every year since its infancy.
Hickey has enjoyed a distinguished career with multiple recognitions of excellence, evidenced by his commitment to supporting his community and state. He has served in several leadership roles, including service on advisory committees to both the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and the District Court for the District of Wyoming.
He is past president of both the Wyoming State Bar and the Wyoming Bar Foundation. He currently serves as chairman of the Dean’s Advisory Board at the College of Law, a position that has extended over 17 years and four Deans. He is a current director for Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Historical Society, and served as its President in 2013, the first Wyoming attorney to do so.
The Dean’s Advisory Board selected two posthumous recipients this year, the first of which is the Honorable Larry L. Lehman. Justice Lehman had a long and distinguished career in Wyoming, culminating as a Justice for the Wyoming Supreme Court.
He was a champion for women and indigent populations in Wyoming, having an acute awareness of the issues faced by victims of domestic violence gaining access to much needed legal representation. His lifelong dedication to improving the court system and providing greater access to justice for all Wyoming citizens inspired the Wyoming State Bar Association’s Larry L. Lehman Award for Judicial Excellence.
Lehman graduated from the University of Wyoming College of Law in 1976. He practiced with the Evanston firm of Vehar, Lehman, Beppler & Jacobson, P.C. and served as Uinta County judge from 1985 to 1988. He then went on to serve on the bench for the state district court, serving Albany and Carbon counties. He was appointed to the Wyoming Supreme Court in 1994 by former Gov. Mike Sullivan. Lehman became Chief Justice in 2004, and was the first chief justice to serve a four-year term. He passed away in 2004, a month before he was scheduled to step down from the court.
The second posthumous recognition of excellence goes to Richard E. Day. Born in 1933, Day grew up in Casper. Prior to attending the University of Wyoming for both his undergraduate and law degrees, Day served in the United States Navy during the Korean War. He returned to earn his Bachelor of Science Degree in Geology in 1958, followed by his law degree in 1960.
Upon his admission to practice law in Wyoming, Day began his career with Tennessee Oil and Gas Company for three years before being appointed as Special Assistant Attorney General in Cheyenne. He later returned to Casper where he started his own firm, before joining Wherli and Williams and subsequently became a founding member of the firm Williams, Porter, Day and Neville, P.C. in 1979. Day remained part of the firm until his passing in 2014.
Considered an outstanding attorney and leader in his profession by his peers, Day was also a leader in his community and the State of Wyoming. In his later years, he was a mentor to any lawyer who would ask his advice or seek his counsel, and was always encouraging his colleagues to share their gifts, and their resources with the community. He is also the namesake for the Richard E. Day Client Counselling Competition at the College of Law, sponsored by his firm.
Also selected by the Dean’s Advisory Board annually, the Thurman Arnold Distinguished Supporter of the Law School Award is awarded to a non-alumnus that has gone above and beyond the norm to promote and develop the UW College of Law. This year’s recipient is Robert Keiter.
Professor Keiter is the Wallace Stegner Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, where he also serves as the Director for the Wallace Stegner Center of Land, Resources, and the Environment. Professor Keiter teaches natural resources law and constitutional law for the University of Utah.
From 1978 to 1993, Professor Keiter taught the same courses at the University of Wyoming College of Law, as well as federal courts, administrative law, and lawyering skills – making important contributions to the area of distinction in natural resources law in Wyoming. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in 1968 from Washington University, and earned his law degree from Northwestern University School of Law in 1972.
Since leaving his professorship at Wyoming, Professor Keiter has made regular appearances at the college sharing his expertise as a guest speaker, collaborating with current UW faculty members, and he was recently featured in Western Confluence: Natural Resources Science and Management in the West magazine.
In addition to the Distinguished Alumni and Supporter Awards, the Honors Banquet recognizes an induction of an honorary member into the Order of the Coif. The Order of the Coif is a national honorary society that recognizes excellence in legal education. Membership is limited to students who graduated in the top 10% of their class, and to honorary members selected by schools with a Coif chapter. The University of Wyoming became a Coif chapter in 1985, however, the faculty selects one honorary member each year to induct into the society that graduated prior to the Wyoming chapter.
This year’s honorary inductee is Timothy O. Beppler. Tim Beppler received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Wyoming in 1973 and earned his law degree to in 1976. He is a partner at the law firm Long Reimer Winegar Beppler, LLP, a firm he has been a part of since 2009. His practice areas focus mainly on business and estate planning, as well as probate and trust administration and real estate. He practices law out of the Evanston office, as well as in the Park City, Utah office.
Mr. Beppler began his legal career as a law clerk for Justice Robert R. Rose on the Wyoming Supreme Court. Following his clerkship, he worked in private practice in Evanston, and served as the Deputy Uintah County Attorney. He has been active within the community, serving on multiple boards including the Board of Bar Commissioners for the Wyoming State Bar, and is a former chair of both the Wyoming Board of Professional Responsibility and the Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) and has served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Wyoming College of Law.
The College of Law is excited to recognize the achievements of these deserving honorees. The Honors Banquet is an open event and we invite anyone wishing to help celebrate the accomplishments of their friends and colleagues to attend. We ask that guests please RSVP to the event by filling out this online RSVP.