War Horse Award

History of the STLA War Horse Award

Co-founder and first President of the Southern Trial Lawyers Association, Larry Smith, was speaking at a seminar in West Palm Beach when he was approached by John Romano with a suggestion to do something to make STLA “very special.” John suggested giving an award to the most special of lawyers. Lawyers who are not only great courtroom advocates, but who give of their time, effort, energy, and money to organizations such as AAJ and the state trial lawyers associations. Lawyers who are “true characters of their time.” Larry agreed, and John came up with the prestigious War Horse Award and the criteria for selecting the recipients. This award is given annually to a lawyer or lawyers at a black-tie dinner and awards ceremony at the Annual Conference during Mardi Gras in New Orleans and is one of the highlights of the conference. 

Award Criteria

War Horse Award honorees are nominated by their fellow members of the Southern Trial Lawyers Association in recognition of extraordinary contributions to the cause of Justice. Recipients meet the following criteria:
  • Must be a lawyer who has practiced actively for 30 years or more
  • Must be a lawyer recognized as a top courtroom advocate
  • Must truly and genuinely be a leader or have been a leader in the trial bar
  • Must have contributed significantly to the teaching of trial advocacy through seminars and educational programs
  • Must be considered one of the true characters of his or her time

War Horse Past Honorees

Sidney S. McMath, Arkansas
Al J. Cone, Florida
Roscoe Ben Hogan, Alabama
Stanley E. Preiser, West Virginia
Joe E. Tonahill, Texas
George E. Allen, Jr., Virginia
Hon. G. Ross Anderson, South Carolina
Franklin Jones, Texas
Raymond H. Kierr, Louisiana
Ward Wagner, Jr., Florida
John B. Wilson, Texas
J. D. Lee, Tennessee
Betty A. Thompson, Virginia
William E. Johnson, Kentucky
Hon. Walter R. Niblock, Arkansas
Samuel C. Gainsburgh, Louisiana
Scott Baldwin, Texas
Bob Gibbins, Texas
Allen Bailey, North Carolina
Charles Blanchard, North Carolina
Frank Haddad, Kentucky
Sen. Howell Heflin, Washington, D.C.
Joseph Jamail, Texas
Hon. Thomas Miller, West Virginia
Bill Colson, Florida
Betty Love, Alabama
Sidney Gilreath, Tennessee

Tony Cunningham, Florida
Francis Hare, Alabama
Pat Maloney, Sr., Texas
Peter Perlman, Kentucky
Jerry McKernan, Louisiana
Tommy Malone, Georgia
Hon. Henry Woods, Arkansas
Morris Dees, Alabama
William L. Thorp, North Carolina
Vincent J. Glorioso, Jr., Louisiana
Philip J. Hirschkop, Virginia
Bill Wagner, Florida
Hon. William R. Wilson, Arkansas
Frank L. Branson, Texas
J. Kendall Few, South Carolina
Murray Sams Jr., Florida
Lawrence J. Smith, Louisiana
Fred D. Gray, Alabama
Michael Maher, Florida
Nick C. Nichols, Texas
Gary Gober, Tennessee
John F. Romano, Florida
Hon. Matthew Perry, South Carolina
Gov. Roy Barnes, Georgia
Gary Pillersdorf, New York
Christian D. Searcy, Florida
John W. Walker, Arkansas

Gordon Bonnyman, Tennessee
Jack Zimmerman, Texas
Hon. George T. Smith, Georgia
R. Ben Hogan, III, Alabama
Robert T. Hall, Virginia
Hon. George N. Leighton, Illinois
J. Lewis Cromer, South Carolina
Howard Nations, Texas
Broadus A. Spivey, Texas
Wayne Hogan, Florida
O. Fayrell Furr, Jr., South Carolina
Jere Locke Beasley, Alabama
Chief Justice Carol Hunstein, Georgia
Robert Parks, Florida
Richard Shapiro, Florida
J. Marvin “Bo” Mullis, Jr., South Carolina
Alex Sanders, South Carolina
Earl Denham, Mississippi
William “Andy” Haggard, Florida
Wade Byrd, North Carolina
Kenneth Suggs, South Carolina
Mary Alice McLarty, Texas
W. Coleman Allen, Jr., Virginia
J. Greg Allen, Alabama
Terry E. Richardson, Jr., South Carolina
Arthur H. Bryant, Oakland, California
Randy Hall, Little Rock, Arkansas
Charles "Chuck" McRae, Mississippi