|David W. Dyer Professionalism Award|
Established in 1997, the David W. Dyer Professionalism Award is the most important award given by the Dade County Bar Association. It is awarded annually to the lawyer or judge whose conduct most closely reflects and honors the integrity, humility, compassion, and professionalism of Judge Dyer himself.
Judge David W. Dyer, a name partner in the firm of Smathers, Dyer & Thompson, and for whom the historic downtown Miami post office and current federal court is named, was nominated to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy. Judge Dyer became Chief Judge in 1962. While serving as a district judge, Judge Dyer issued a landmark decision to desegregate the restaurants which serve travelers on Florida’s Turnpike. In 1966, Judge Dyer was elevated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. There, Judge Dyer presided over several important civil rights and voting rights cases, including a ruling in 1967 to reapportion Florida on the “one-man, one-vote” principle.
Judge Dyer is a former member of the board of governors and executive committee of the Florida Bar, as well as the board of governors of the Maritime Law Association. He also served as president of the Dade County Bar Association.
Judge Dyer’s qualities and contributions were enumerated in the United States House of Representatives upon Judge Dyer’s passing in 1998:
Community leaders across South Florida are at a loss today because they have lost their leader, mentor, and role model. For many, Judge Dyer is nothing short of a hero. During a time of great national struggle, he consistently advocated and maintained that the Constitution guaranteed equality for all Americans–no matter what their race. To put it simply, he was Florida’s most respected jurist.
His loss is not only a personal one, but one to the entire U.S. Judiciary. How long will it be until someone else with his compassion and understanding will grace our presence again? Previous winners of the David W. Dyer Professionalism Award are: