Philadelphia partner Ken Murphy received the prestigious J. Austin Norris Award at the Annual Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia Scholarship Gala this past weekend. The Gala is held each year to “celebrate up-and-coming law students, practicing attorneys and jurists who embody professionalism, dedication to the profession as well as a commitment to the Black Philadelphia legal community and public communities.”

Ken has served as President of the Barristers Association, and after a nomination and voting process by the Executive and Advisory Board, was selected as this year’s recipient of the award. In accepting the award, Ken gave brief remarks about the constant pursuit of excellence in life and in practice. Ken’s acceptance speech was met with a standing ovation by those in attendance.

Shabrei Parker, the current Barristers’ Association President (pictured above with Ken), said that Ken “was abundantly deserving of this award. In addition to his tireless service to the profession and leadership of the Barristers, Ken has been a mentor to countless young attorneys and, through Drinker Biddle, has paved the way for many diverse attorneys to navigate the profession.”

The Barristers’ Association created the award in 1976 as a memorial to J. Austin Norris, one of the most influential African-American lawyers in Philadelphia’s history. The award is considered to be among the city’s highest honors and is given to an Association member who has made outstanding contributions to the legal profession and general community.

The full description of the award and its recipients is below:

“J. Austin Norris was a strong advocate for equality of opportunity. He used political power to advance the status of black lawyers with the expectation that those lawyers would bring about further social change. In recognition of J. Austin Norris' focus on improving the position of Blacks in the community, the Barristers' Association presents this award to an attorney of color who has demonstrated distinguished service to the Barristers', the legal profession, and the community at large.”

Notable past recipients of the award can be found here.