ADA — Bob E. Bennett, Judge Thomas S. Landrith, and the Pontotoc County Bar Association were recognized by the Oklahoma Bar Association with prestigious awards at its 104th Annual Meeting held last month in Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma Bar Association President J. William Conger of Oklahoma City said, “These award winners are being recognized for their achievements that distinguish them as role models within the legal community. These people have made profound contributions to their communities with unmatched commitment and deserve to be honored.”

Bennett received the Joe Stamper Distinguished Service Award, an award given each year to a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association for long-term service and significant contributions to the legal profession. He has served the legal community over the years in a variety of capacities, including President of the Pontotoc County Bar Association, member of the OBA Board of Governors, OBA Vice-President, Chair of the Probate Code Committee, member of the American Bar Association, fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, fellow of the Oklahoma Bar Foundation, fellow of the American Bar Foundation, member of the Oklahoma Health Lawyer’s Association, and member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys.

Earlier this year, Bennett received his 50-year pin, signifying 50 years of honorable service as a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association. Mr. Bennett is retiring from practice at the end of this year.

Landrith received the Trailblazer Award, an award given each year to a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association who by his significant, unique visionary efforts has had a profound impact upon the profession and/or community and in doing so has blazed a trail for others to follow. Eleven years ago, less than one year after the Oklahoma Drug Court Act was passed, Landrith started a drug court program in Pontotoc County. It was the first drug court in Oklahoma to follow the Drug Court Act. It also was the first rural drug court in the nation.

Pontotoc County drug court program is very successful and has twice been named as outstanding Drug Court of the Year in Oklahoma. Landrith is involved in all phases of the program, and he is the driving force behind the progress evaluation and crisis intervention phases of the drug court program.

The success of the Pontotoc County drug court program has led to similar drug court programs in Hughes and Seminole counties.

Most drug court programs in Oklahoma follow the policies and procedures manual written by Landrith and his Pontotoc County drug court team.

The Pontotoc County Bar Association received the Outstanding County Bar Award for its meritorious efforts and activities. Throughout the year, the Pontotoc County Bar Association has engaged in various activities to enhance the working relationship among its members and to increase public awareness of the role of attorneys in the community.

In conjunction with Law Day, members conducted a “Call a Lawyer” program one evening in May and gave free legal advice to members of the community.

To focus on the Law Day theme of “Democracy in Action,” county bar members also held a mock presidential election at area junior high schools. More than 500 students learned about the election process, gave spirited campaign speeches, and voted on realistic ballots for their favorite presidential candidates.

The Pontotoc County Bar Association holds monthly luncheon meetings with guest speakers on a variety of topics.

The county bar association also hosts an annual summertime gathering at Sheep Creek that is attended by several justices of the Oklahoma Supreme Court and other members from the state and federal judiciary.

It also has social events from time-to-time for its members.

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