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Alabama Law Honors 2024 Alumni Award Recipients

March 27, 2024

On March 1, the Law School hosted the annual Alabama Law Alumni Society Banquet at The Haven in Birmingham, where seven distinguished alumni were honored for their significant contributions to the legal community and the Law School.

Mike House and family


Sam W. Pipes Distinguished Alumni Award

W. Mike House (Class of ’71) was named this year’s recipient of the Sam W. Pipes Award. The Sam W. Pipes Award is the highest honor bestowed by the Law School Foundation to outstanding alumni of The University of Alabama School of Law, who have distinguished themselves through service to the Bar, The University of Alabama, and the Law School.

“Mike was an exceptional leader, even in law school,” his law school classmate, Mike Goodrich, said. “Mike has an extraordinary record of service to The University of Alabama and its Law School.”

House began his career serving as Howell Heflin’s chief of staff, where he had a great impact on the drafting and passage of the judicial article constitutional amendment in 1973 and the implementation legislation in 1975. After continuing to serve as Heflin’s chief of staff when he became senator, House began a storied career in the lawyer lobby field in Washington, DC and has been recognized as one of the most outstanding legislative lawyers and lobbyists in Washington. After dedicating 28 years at Hogan Lovells, House opened his own lobbying practice, Oak Grove Strategies, in 2020. House and his wife, Gina, have also been integral to the founding and continued success of Alabama Law’s DC Externship Program.

Alabama Lawyer Hall of Honor

Four alumni were inducted into the Alabama Lawyer Hall of Honor this year: Judy Whalen Evans (Class of ’75), Vanessa Leonard* (Class of ’95), Robert F. Prince (Class of ’74), and M. Wayne Wheeler (Class of ’66). The Alabama Lawyer Hall of Honor was established in 2020 by the Board of Governors of the Law School Foundation to recognize the outstanding achievement of Alabama Law alumni and faculty. Criteria for the award include making significant and extended contributions to the life of the Law School, having a distinguished career, and sustaining involvement in service activities. 

Christopher B. Driver, Dean William S. Brewbaker III, and Brannon J. Buck
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Alabama Rising Young Attorneys

This year, the Leadership Council of the Alabama Law Alumni Society named Stanley E. Blackmon (Class of ’15) and Christopher B. Driver (Class of ’15) as the Alabama Rising Young Attorney Award recipients. Established in 2020, the Alabama Rising Young Attorney Award recognizes a recent graduate or graduates who have shown significant leadership and purposeful service to the legal profession, their community, and the Law School. 


The 2024 Alabama Law Alumni Society banquet offered a pleasant evening for alumni and their families to gather and celebrate the achievements of classmates and friends. If you were unable to attend, we hope you will join us next year. Click here for additional photos of the event, and here to read the bios of each awardee in the banquet program.

Nominations for the Sam W. Pipes Distinguished Alumnus Award, the Alabama Lawyer Hall of Honor, and the Alabama Rising Young Attorney Award are open year-round. These awards, established by the Law School Foundation Board of Governors and the Alabama Law Alumni Society Leadership Council, are awarded annually during the Alabama Law Alumni Society banquet each Spring. Nomination forms are available at 


*The University of Alabama School of Law is proud to honor Trustee Leonard’s outstanding career and personal achievements. We are grateful for her thoughtful and selfless service to the Alabama Law community and to The University of Alabama System. In acknowledging her recent passing, we extend our heartfelt condolences to her classmates, colleagues, and loved ones.

The University of Alabama School of Law strives to remain neutral on issues of public policy. The Law School’s communications team may facilitate interviews or share opinions expressed by faculty, staff, students, or other individuals regarding policy matters. However, those opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of the Law School, the University, or affiliated leadership.