David Mason, Scott Bethune honored with Purcell Professionalism Award
Hon. David C. Mason and Scott S. Bethune were selected as the 2021 Missouri Bar Foundation Purcell Professionalism Award recipients.
Named after former Missouri Bar President Martin J. Purcell, the Purcell Professionalism Award recognizes Missouri lawyers who have shown an exceptional level of competency, integrity, and civility in professional and civic activities. The Missouri Bar Board of Governors and The Missouri Bar Foundation Board of Trustees nominate individuals for the award. The board of trustees then selects one or two award winners and presents each awardee with a $500 stipend.
Mason said he is driven to preside with fairness and assure there is an equal and accessible process for all litigants. He graduated from Austin Peay State University School of Law and has been a circuit judge for 30 years, as well as an adjunct professor with Washington University School of Law. He was the founder of the Freedom Suits Memorial, a new sculpture in downtown St. Louis that commemorates the roughly 400 slaves who petitioned Missouri courts for their freedom.
“The work of the lawyers and judges who handled the freedom suits demonstrated the highest standard of our profession: equal justice under the law. That is one reason why the Freedom Suits Memorial is so important – it is a monument to the highest values of our profession,” Mason said. “If my work as founder of this memorial led to this award, I am humbled, grateful, and committed to being the kind of judge who, by my conduct, honors the award and its namesake.”
Bethune said he is grateful to receive this year’s Purcell Professionalism Award, especially since he has looked to many of the past award recipients as legal role models. Bethune is a University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law graduate and a founding member of Kansas City law firm Davis Bethune Jones. He has also been elected by Missouri lawyers to serve on judicial commissions for the past 12 years as part of the Missouri Non-Partisan Court Plan.
“It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career to meet those outstanding individuals seeking a life of public service and see the quality judges that result from Missouri’s merit selection process,” Bethune said.
Click here to learn more about annual awards presented by The Missouri Bar Foundation.