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Each year, MDFAWL presents three awards to deserving women and men who demonstrate a commitment to and passion for the professional advancement of women lawyers and the promotion of women’s rights.


- Eleanor Roosevelt

Women Making History Award

The Women Making History Award is awarded annually during the month of March, which is Women’s History Month. The award recipient exemplifies the ideals of professional achievement, perseverance, and dedication to women's issues. Her accomplishments and passion pave the way for the new women leaders of today's generation. She is a trailblazer.

Women Making History

Past Women Making History Award Recipients

  • 2004: Edith Osman

  • 2005: Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Barbara Pariente

  • 2008: Patricia Ireland & Sookie Williams

  • 2009: Hilarie Bass

  • 2010: Janet Reno

  • 2011: Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally A. Heyman & Professor M. Minnette Massey

  • 2012: The Honorable Marcia G. Cooke

  • 2013: The Honorable Bertila Soto

  • 2014: Donna E. Shalala

  • 2015: Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis & Professor Mary Anne Franks

  • 2016: State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle

  • 2017: County Attorney Abigail Price Williams

  • 2018: Melanie Damian

  • 2019: Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Lagoa

  • 2020: Kimberly A. Cook

  • 2021: Miami-Dade Mayor, Daniella Levine Cava

  • 2022: The Honorable Myriam Lehr

  • 2023: The Honorable Cecilia M. Altonaga

  • 2024: The Honorable Corali Lopez-Castro

Honorable Theodore

Past Honorable Theodore Klein Award Recipients

  • 2008: The Honorable Joseph P. Farina

  • 2009: John Kozyak

  • 2010: Benjamine Reid

  • 2011: Steven W. Davis

  • 2012: Gerald I. Kornreich

  • 2013: The Honorable John W. Thornton

  • 2014: The Honorable Milton Hirsch

  • 2015: Ira Leesfield

  • 2016: The Honorable Scott Bernstein

  • 2017: Patrick Montoya

  • 2018: Jerry Hamilton

  • 2019: The Honorable Rodolfo A. Ruiz II

  • 2021: The Honorable Donald "DJ" Cannava

  • 2022:  Paul S. Singerman

  • 2023: Stephen N. Zack

JR Signage - Zack.png

Mattie Belle Davis Award

Mattie Belle Davis was the only woman in Florida to pass the Florida Bar Examination in 1936.  In 1959, she was appointed to the Metropolitan Court of Dade County, which later was absorbed into the county court system of Dade County.  She retired from the bench in 1980 but continued to serve as a retired judge until 1996.  Judge Davis was a founding member of (State) FAWL in 1951 and led the organization as President in 1957‑58.  She also served as President of the National Association of Women Lawyers in 1965-66. She was passionate about and committed to FAWL, serving as the organization's Historian until her death in January, 2004.


This award is presented annually to an MDFAWL member and jurist who exemplifies the ideals of professional achievement, perseverance, and dedication that were demonstrated by the late Judge Davis.

Mattie Belle

Past Mattie Belle Davis Award Recipients

  • 1987: Roberta Fulton Fox

  • 1988: Janet Reno

  • 1989: Carrie Meek

  • 1990: Elaine Gordon

  • 1991: The Honorable Gill S. Freeman

  • 1992: The Honorable Rosemary Barkett

  • 1993: The Honorable Cindy S. Lederman

  • 1994: The Honorable Patricia A. Seitz

  • 1995: Ellen Freidin

  • 1996: The Honorable Lenore Nesbitt

  • 2000: Edith G. Osman

  • 2002: Sharon L. Langer

  • 2003: The Honorable Ellen Leesfield

  • 2004: The Honorable Sandy Karlan

  • 2005: Elizabeth Baker

  • 2006: The Honorable Laurel Myerson Isicoff

  • 2007: The Honorable Leslie B. Rothenberg

  • 2008: The Honorable Jacqueline Hogan Scola

  • 2009: Cynthia A. Everett

  • 2010: Marcia Cypen

  • 2011: State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle

  • 2012: Melanie E. Damian

  • 2013: Lisa Lehner

  • 2014: Katherine Ezell

  • 2015: The Honorable Lisa S. Walsh

  • 2016: Julie Braman Kane

  • 2017: Deborah Baker-Egozi

  • 2018: Michelle Suskauer

  • 2019: The Honorable Carroll J. Kelly

  • 2022: The Honorable Bronwyn C. Miller

  • 2023: Katie Phang

  • 2024: Judge Melissa Damian

Law Firm Champion of Women Award

This award is presented annually at MDFAWL’s Installation and Awards Dinner in recognition of a law firm with at least one office in Miami-Dade County that has championed the advancement of women in the legal profession.


The MDFAWL Board of Directors will consider actions taken by the nominated firms’ Miami-Dade County office(s) in the following areas: hiring and retaining women; implementing general employment practices and procedures that increase or enhance the representation of women in leadership positions in the legal profession; promoting women to equity partnership and positions in firm leadership; and implementing firm policies that are intended to retain and promote women.

  • 2023:  Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC

  • 2024:

    • Firms with 49 or fewer attorneys: Heise Suarez Melville, P.A.

    • Firms with 50 or more attorneys: Hamilton, Miller & Birthisel, LLP