Whether they are needed to help someone get out of a legal situation, set up a business or find resolutions to family issues, lawyers play a growing role in keeping our society moving forward. According to the American Bar Association’s annual National Lawyer Population Survey, the numbers of attorneys in the country increased by 15.2 percent over the last decade. There are more than 1.33 million attorneys actively practicing law in the United States and 6,851 practicing in Arkansas. With so many to choose from, it can be difficult for potential clients to know they are getting the best representation they can. 

With that in mind, AY magazine is highlighting the Arkansas Bar Association’s award-winning lawyers ahead of their annual meeting in Hot Springs June 12-14, as well as our readers’ choices for the best lawyers in the state. We polled our readers on the best attorneys in banking & finance, bankruptcy, criminal defense, DUI/DWI defense, education, labor, construction, elder law, employment law, family law, health care law, personal injury, trusts & estates, real estate, trademarks and more. Whether you’re making plans for the future or going to court, these are names you can trust. You have the right to an attorney, and these are the best in the business.


The Arkansas Bar Association, along with AY magazine, is proud to recognize our state’s outstanding attorneys. The skill and character exemplified by the individuals recognized in this issue makes us all proud. Arkansas attorneys are required to stay abreast of changes in the law. We also need to stay abreast of changes in the practice of law. This year, we continue the tradition of visiting Hot Springs for our annual meeting, June 12-14. Our annual meeting offers attorneys more than 40 hours of continuing legal education credit in a variety of areas. Our theme for Arkansas Bar Association’s 2019 Annual Meeting is “Game Changers.” The attorneys recognized in this magazine are game changers in their own right.

Our annual meeting offers programs and panels in a diverse selection of topics, including legislative issues, cybersecurity and blockchain, civil rights, as well as our family law and criminal law CLE tracks. This year’s meeting also includes a service component, during which our members will partner with The Pack Shack on a community outreach program to serve some of our food-insecure neighbors. Arkansas lawyers routinely give back to their communities, and this year, we will do so as a group at our annual meeting. We are proud of Arkansas’ attorneys – those recognized at our annual meeting and in this magazine, as well as the countless lawyers who get up every day to serve their community. We honor them all!

At the annual meeting, the Arkansas Bar Foundation and the Arkansas Bar Association will recognize several persons to honor because of their outstanding contributions. 

Those selected are:

• Outstanding Lawyer Award: Laura Hensley Smith

• Outstanding Lawyer-Citizen Award: F. Thomas Curry

• C. E. Ransick Award of Excellence: James D. Sprott

• James H. McKenzie Professionalism Award: Gordon S. Rather, Jr.

• Equal Justice Distinguished Service Award: Steven Shults

• Outstanding Jurist Award:  Chief Justice John Dan Kemp

• Outstanding Local Bar Associations: Pulaski County Bar Association and Sebastian County Bar Association 

Also during the meeting, I will award the following award recipients for their work over the past year:

Presidential Award of Excellence:

• Eddie H. Walker, Jr.

Golden Gavel Awards:

• Kandice A. Bell 

• Brad Hendricks

• Jamie Huffman Jones

• Paul W. Keith

• Aaron L. Squyres

• Scott C. Trotter

• Vicki Vasser-Jenkins

Other Awards:

• J. Cliff McKinney II

• Carl J. Circo

• J.B. Cross

• Jordan Rogers 

• Chris Hussein

• Samantha Vital

Congratulations to the following members who have been admitted to the practice of law in Arkansas for 50 years:

H. William Allen • John M. Bilheimer • Eugene D. Bramblett • Robert M. Cearley, Jr. • John Atkins Crain • Warren E. Dupwe

Chadd L. Durrett, Jr. • Dent Gitchel • Roger A. Glasgow • Robert H. Holmes • Judge B. Kenneth Johnson • Robert L. Jones, III

Judge Robert Lynn Lowery • Frank B. Newell • Richard Martin Pence • James G. Petty, Jr. • Norvell N. Plowman • David M. Powell

Thomas E. Robertson, Jr. • Joe M. Rogers • Ted H. Sanders • Virgil W. Trotter • Bud Whetstone





Suzanne G. Clark

Arkansas Bar Association President, Clark Law Firm, PLLC