Former Justice Honored for Contributions to Access to Justice, Indigent Representation Reform and the Integrity of the Judicial System
NASHVILLE, May 22, 2019 — Former Tennessee Supreme Court Justice William C. Koch Jr. will be honored next month with the Tennessee Bar Association’s prestigious Justice Frank F. Drowota III Award. Named in honor of former Tennessee Chief Justice Frank Drowota, the award is the TBA’s highest honor given for service to the judiciary and has been presented annually for more than a decade.
Koch was chosen for his decades of service to the legal profession in Tennessee, including his local and national leadership of the American Inns of Court, as well as his work as chair of the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Indigent Representation Task Force. In that role, he led an extensive listening tour that included nine public meetings and resulted in a comprehensive report with recommendations that led to additional funding for lasting and important changes around the state.
Koch earned his bachelor’s degree from Trinity College and his law degree from Vanderbilt Law School. He received his LL.M. in Judicial Process from University of Virginia School of Law. After serving in leadership roles in state government, Koch was appointed to the Tennessee Court of Appeals in 1984 and later to the Tennessee Supreme Court in 2007 where he served until 2014. When appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court, Governor Phil Bredeson described Koch as fair and consistent with a strong commitment to the law and dedicated to the faithful dispensation of justice. Koch has served as the President and Dean of Nashville School of Law since 2014. He currently serves as the chair of the state’s Trial Court Vacancy Commission.
He will accept the award during the Tennessee Bar Association’s Lawyers Luncheon on June 14 at its annual convention in Nashville.
The Drowota Award is given to a judge or judicial branch official of a federal, state or local court in Tennessee who has demonstrated extraordinary devotion and dedication to the improvement of the law, the legal system and the administration of justice as exemplified by the career of former Supreme Court Justice Frank F. Drowota III – the award’s first recipient, who died in April 2018. Thanks to a donation from Justice Drowota and a matching gift from the Frist Foundation, the award allows the recipient to direct a gift of $1,000 to the charity of his or her choice.