by Joe Wilhelm Jr.
Two Jacksonville attorneys will be honored at the first Anti-Defamation League (ADL) “Jurisprudence Award Luncheon” held in Jacksonville Dec. 3 at the Hyatt.
Attorneys Evan Yegelwel of Terrell Hogan and Hugh Cotney were chosen by the ADL to receive the award for “their outstanding leadership and contributions to the legal profession and to the community at large,” said Vicki Katz, ADL Director of Development for the Florida Region.
The awards weren’t too much of surprise to Wayne Hogan, one of the event’s co-chairs.
“In their law practices, both Evan and Hugh focus on righting wrongs that cause physical injury,” said Hogan. “But for decades, they’ve both fought against racism and bigotry and they each work to promote a sense of community to lessen tensions that could produce harmful words and harmful actions.”
The Jurisprudence Award was established to recognize individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the legal profession and to the community at large, while exemplifying the principles upon which the Anti-Defamation League was founded. The ADL’s mission is to “stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all.”
The two honorees are known for following these principles throughout their legal careers. Yegelwel graduated from the University of Florida, Holland Law Center in 1980 and has been a member of the law firm of Terrell Hogan for 25 years. In one of his many acts of giving back to his community, and his school, in January of 2000, Yegelwel founded the “Evan J. Yegelwel Fellowship Fund,” which supports legal internships for University of Florida law students in conjunction with the ADL concentrating on the prevention of all forms of anti-Semitism, racism and bigotry. He has also served on the board for the Southeast Region of the ADL.
“It’s great to have the first Jurisprudence Awards Luncheon in Jacksonville,” said Yegelwel. “They create a tremendous legacy. Hopefully, having the first lunch in Jacksonville will set a footprint for a larger presence for years to come and expose their great work to the City. Hopefully that knowledge will garner more support.”
Cotney was recommended for the award by Yegelwel for his pursuit of fairness and justice in the practice of law. In 1983, Cotney received The Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award for the Fourth Judicial Circuit. He was chosen for the 2007 Pro Bono Honor Roll. Cotney presently serves on the board of directors for Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, and will be second vice president in 2009.
The honoring members of the legal community will be a part of the event, and another part of the event will be raising funds to support its education programs in the area. The ADL works with local, state and federally elected officials, law enforcement agencies, schools, social agencies, churches, synagogues, and the media to broaden the public’s understanding of prejudice and its destructive effects upon society. “Echoes and Reflections” is a program that helps educators teach the complex issues of the Holocaust and the ADL will be training about 80 teachers in Duval County in December.
For more information about the awards luncheon or the ADL contact Katz at 561-988-2935, Hogan at 722-2228 or Arnold Tritt at 354-5200.