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Carolyn Witherspoon to Receive the 2023 ABF Fellows Distinguished Life Fellow Award

February 3, 2023, Press releases

CHICAGO, February 3 - Carolyn Witherspoon, ABF Life Fellow and Director of Cross, Gunter, Witherspoon & Galchus, a majority female-owned firm in Little Rock, Arkansas, will be honored with the 2023 ABF Fellows Distinguished Life Fellow Awards from the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation (ABF). Witherspoon will receive the award during the 67th Annual Fellows Award Reception and Banquet, which will be held in New Orleans on February 4, 2023. 

The ABF Fellows Distinguished Life Fellow Award is given to a Life Fellow in recognition of a lifetime of sustained and significant professional achievement and public service.  

Witherspoon is a groundbreaking female leader in Arkansas, proudly serving as the first female president of the Pulaski County & Arkansas Bar Association and the William R. Overton Inn of Court. She’s also supported and founded organizations that serve women, including the first domestic violence shelter in Little Rock. 

“Throughout her career, Carolyn has demonstrated a tireless dedication to public service and a passionate commitment to access to justice,” said Darrell Mottley, National Chair of the ABF Fellows. “The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation are honored to recognize Carolyn for her professional achievements, community service, and the extraordinary impact she’s had on the legal profession.”   

“I am so pleased to have received this honor from the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation,” said Witherspoon. “The work of the ABF is important to all of us in the profession, as the research may always be relied upon. The Fellows have been a voice for enhancing access to justice and inclusion in the profession for those who would otherwise not be represented.”  

Witherspoon has served the American Bar Association as a member of the House of Delegates, where she served on the Steering Committee of the Nominating Committee. She has also chaired the Commission on Interests on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts and the Arkansas Fellows of the American Bar Foundation. She is also a member of the American Law Institute and a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Law. Previously, she was a member of the Executive Committee for the Transportation Lawyers Association and the American Employment Law Counsel.  

Internationally, Witherspoon has served as an arbitrator for the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FRNA), and the UFC. She is a member of the prestigious Union Internationale des Advocats, recognized before the United Nations. 

Community service is extremely important to Witherspoon. She served on the Arkansas Real Estate Commission as its first Public Commissioner; the Little Rock Sister Cities Commission; the Arkansas Association of Women Lawyers as President; the Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault Organization board; the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas & Arkansas Women Executives as President; the Arkansas Women’s Leadership Forum; and the Little Rock Housing Authority Board of Commissioners. She currently serves on the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors and has chaired the Board’s Personnel Committee. 

Witherspoon has received professional recognition from Chambers USA, MidSouth Super Lawyers, and the Arkansas Business “Arkansas 250” where she was recognized as a “Living Legend” in 2021. In 2019, Carolyn was inducted into the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame. In 2020, Carolyn received recognition from Legal Services Corporation for her commitment to providing equal access to justice through her pro bono work with the Center for Arkansas Legal Service. 


About the American Bar Foundation 

The American Bar Foundation (ABF) is the world’s leading research institute for the empirical and interdisciplinary study of law. The ABF seeks to expand knowledge and advance justice through innovative, interdisciplinary, and rigorous empirical research on law, legal processes, and legal institutions. To further this mission the ABF will produce timely, cutting-edge research of the highest quality to inform and guide the legal profession, the academy, and society in the United States and internationally. The ABF’s primary funding is provided by the American Bar Endowment and the Fellows of The American Bar Foundation

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