TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Barry Kolar on Jun 1, 2020

NASHVILLE, June 1, 2020 — Federal Public Defender Henry Martin will be honored this month with the Tennessee Bar Association’s First Annual Claudia Jack Award. This award is presented annually to an outstanding public defender or court-appointed private practitioner who has served the legal community and their clients in an exemplary fashion.

Martin is a distinguished public servant who has dedicated his entire legal career to improving the quality of legal representation to indigent criminal defendants in Tennessee. He has served as the federal public defender in the Middle District of Tennessee since 1985.

Martin’s many accomplishments include his service as a member of the U.S. Judicial Conference’s Advisory Committee on Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and as president of the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Martin is credited by his colleagues as setting the standard for criminal defense representation and elevating the level of practice by both private and court-appointed lawyers in Tennessee. Martin’s years of service have directly impacted lawyers and indigent clients, truly embodying the spirit of the Claudia Jack Award.

A resident of Nashville, Martin earned his bachelor’s and law degrees from Vanderbilt University. Prior to serving in his current role, Martin worked in private practice with an emphasis on criminal law and civil liberties. He has chaired multiple state and national boards and is a regular presenter at national, regional and local criminal justice events.

The award is named after the late Claudia Jack, a long-time champion of the poor and underprivileged and a public defender. This year’s award recipient was selected by a committee consisting of the vice president of the Tennessee Bar Association, the chair of the TBA’s Access to Justice Committee, the chair of the TBA’s Criminal Law Section, the speaker of the TBA House of Delegates, and the chair of the TBA’s Juvenile & Children’s Law Section. The award will be presented June 18 during the TBA's Virtual Annual Convention.

The Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) was founded in 1881, and its membership is open to all licensed attorneys in good standing. The TBA represents the entire spectrum of the legal profession, and it is dedicated to enhancing fellowship and professionalism among the members of Tennessee’s legal community.