U.S. Court of Appeals judge Joel F. Dubina, a 1973 graduate of Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, has received the prestigious Lewis F. Powell, Jr., Award for Professionalism and Ethics given by the American Inns of Court.

The award is given each year to recognize a person who has rendered exemplary service to the legal profession in the areas of professionalism, civility and ethics. Previous winners include U.S. Supreme Court justices William Brennan and Anthony Kennedy.

Dubina, of Montgomery, Ala., has served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit since 1990, and was its chief judge from June, 2009 to July, 2013. He serves on the executive committee of the Judicial Conference of the U.S.

This year's Celebration of Excellence and awards presentation was held on October 19 at the Supreme Court of the U.S. in Washington, D.C. Cumberland dean John L. Carroll attended. 

"I was honored to attend the ceremony at which Judge Dubina accepted his well-deserved award. He has always received, by all who know him, the highest tribute that one lawyer can give another: He is a 'lawyer's lawyer' and a 'judge's judge,'" said Carroll.  "We are proud that Judge Dubina is a Cumberland lawyer."

After earning his Cumberland degree, Dubina practiced law with the Montgomery firm of Jones, Murray, Stewart and Yarborough for nine years. He was named a U.S. magistrate judge in 1983, and was appointed a U.S. district judge in the Middle District of Alabama in 1986.  He received Cumberland's Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award in 1993.

The American Inns of Court, headquartered in Alexandria, Va., fosters excellence in professionalism, ethics, civility and legal skills.  Its membership includes more than 30,000 federal, state and local judges, and lawyers, law professors and law students in more than 360 chapters nationwide. In 2013, Cumberland chartered the Judge James Edwin Horton Inn of Court in honor of an 1899 Cumberland graduate.


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.