Recognizing his years of service to legal philanthropy, the National Conference of Bar Foundations (NCBF) presented its second annual Award of Excellence to Colonel (USAF, Retired) William A. Martin of North Little Rock, Arkansas, at its meeting in San Diego, California on February 6, 2016. The meeting is held in conjunction with the American Bar Association mid year meeting.
Leonard Pataki, President of the NCBF, presided. President Eddie Walker of the Arkansas Bar Association praised Martin’s work over many years with the Arkansas Bar Foundation and Association. Then Pataki said Martin has worked with Bar Foundations at national, state, and local level, encouraging and guiding them and their members with leadership, advice, and assistance in the thirty-two years since his retirement from the Air Force.
In acceptance remarks Martin said he draws inspiration from the work of his wife of almost 53 years, Mary Lou, with the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church and their local church, Lakewood UMC in North Little Rock. She has been president of the North Arkansas Conference United Methodist Women and currently is a hands on Lakewood coordinator with the Gardner Memorial Methodist Church food pantry. He added in his over sixty years as a lawyer he has had three careers he dearly loved, service with the Air Force, paid service with the Arkansas Bar Foundation and Association, and since his retirement continuing volunteer service with legal organizations. He stressed philanthropy involves service as well as giving money.
Those attending, in addition to the members of the National Conference of Bar Foundations, included Arkansas Bar Association President, Eddie Walker, President Elect Denise Hoggard, Executive Director Karen Hutchins, Little Rock independent journalist Ernie Dumas, American Bar Association Executive Director (Lt. Gen. retired, former Air Force Judge Advocate General) Jack Rives, current Air Force Deputy Judge Advocate Major Jeffrey Rockwell, and a number of Air Force active duty Judge Advocate officers.
In 1983 Martin returned to Arkansas to be Executive Director of the Arkansas Bar Foundation and Association. During the next 13 years until his retirement from his paying job he saw the Foundation’s small scholarship endowment increase to well over $1 million and significant growth in money available for legally related special projects. Arkansas Bar Association membership greatly increased during his tenure. He helped urge the state Supreme Court adopt mandatory continuing legal education. Attendance at the Association annual meeting more than tripled during his service.
Martin was instrumental in the Association’s successfully recommending the creation of the Arkansas IOLTA Foundation, and served as a member of its first few boards. The Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts program receives interest on trust accounts that is too small to be paid to clients and uses it to help fund legal services for the poor. The original organization is now an arm of the Arkansas Supreme Court Access to Justice program.
During his time with the Arkansas Bar Foundation Martin realized that many worthy legal projects to help people in the Pulaski County area were too local to a state wide foundation. Concluding the Pulaski County Bar Association needed a foundation; he met with capital area lawyers and was instrumental in the founding of the Pulaski County Bar Foundation. It provides a law student scholarship, conducts education activities, and has improved spaces at the court house, making the wait easier for trial participants and their children. Since the late nineties he continued to serve on the boards of the Pulaski County Bar Foundation and Association.
At the first National Conference of Bar Foundations meeting after Martin return to Arkansas he joined that organization, first learning more about his craft and then helping others to learn and to solve problems. He served the balance of an unexpired term as a trustee on the NCBF Board and then was elected to two full terms totaling seven years. The last three years he was treasurer where he changed procedures, got the organization on a firm financial footing, and speeded payment of bills. At the end of this service he was named an NCBF Trustee Emeritus. He continues to attend the meetings and provide historical insights and current suggestions.
The National Conference of Bar Foundations is an independent, voluntary association of volunteer leaders and professional staff from state, county, city, and other bar foundations across the country, providing philanthropic support for the legal and justice systems.
After his age 65 retirement he has been an extremely active volunteer for the Arkansas Bar Association, serving as Secretary-Treasurer for nine years and another four as Treasurer, and a member of the Board of Governors during that time, ensuring the Association was in sound financial shape and in the black most of the time. He did much of the detail work when the Professional Ethics Committee prepared the rules and transition documents for the Arkansas Supreme Court to revise the Arkansas Rules of Professional Conduct based on the American Bar Association model.
Martin has also been very active with the Arkansas Alumni Association and its Central Arkansas Chapter, serving on its board since 1993. He has been treasurer, secretary and President of the Chapter. In 2001 he was the second member of the Alumni Association presented with the Heart Award which “. . . honors a unique individual who exemplifies the volunteer spirit, enthusiasm and commitment that is the core of alumnus chapter involvement.” “Bill is always there at chapter events and has contributed many years of service to the chapter,” The Associate Director for Chapters added Bill is one of those individuals who will always be there helping out but never wants to be in the spotlight.
Martin, a native of Warren, Arkansas, received his law degree and an AFROTC commission from the University of Arkansas in 1955. He entered the Air Force, found the work very interesting, saw the need for a strong American military and remained an active duty lawyer for 28 years. Overseas assignments included Turkey and Japan. He progressed through the ranks from second lieutenant to colonel. After his promotion to colonel he was Air Force Chief of Claims and Tort Litigation; then Staff Judge Advocate (General Counsel) of three general court martial jurisdictions: Tinker AFB, Oklahoma; Yokota Air Base, Tokyo, Japan; and Randolph Air Force Base, Texas.
His military awards include the Legion of Merit with one oak leaf cluster. Bar Association awards include the Pulaski County Outstanding Lawyer Award, two Arkansas Bar Association Awards for extraordinary service, and four Golden Awards for committee service.
He is married to the former Mary Lou Mauderly of Strong City, Kansas. They have three children and five grandchildren.
For more information contact William A. Martin
3324 North Hills Blvd.
North Little Roc, AR 72116-9342