Nov. 13, 2006
University of Idaho College of Law Dean and Foundation Professor of Law Don Burnett
earned the Idaho State Bar's Professionalism Award, considered to be one of the highest honors a lawyer can receive during his or her career.
The award recognizes demonstrated and uncommon devotion to public service, the improvement of the administration of justice and a career-long demonstration of diligence, ability, civility, integrity and dignity.
Burnett’s roles and responsibilities include teaching, scholarship, service to the legal profession and the public, leadership and management of the university's College of Law and participation in the administration of the university.
Burnett’s high standards reverberate throughout the College. Under his leadership, UI law students are introduced to a high standard of professionalism and code of honor almost as soon as they step over the threshold of the Menard Law Building.
“Day one of the College of Law’s orientation, incoming law students meet in small groups with distinguished judges and lawyers from throughout the Northwest to discuss ethical dilemmas and professional challenges of the sort they are likely to encounter in practice,” said Richard Seamon, Allan G. Shepard Distinguished Professor of Law and College of Law associate dean. “In addition, Dean Burnett has established, with faculty approval, a requirement that all students, prior to graduation, perform at least 40 hours of pro bono legal service. This instills a tradition of pro bono service that they will be expected to carry on after graduation.”
Burnett earned a bachelor’s degree in economics, graduating magna cum laude from Harvard University; a juris doctor from the University of Chicago; a master of laws degree (L.L.M.) from the University of Virginia; and graduated on the Commandant’s List from the Command and General Staff College of the U.S. Army.
During his diverse career, he has served as: clerk to the Chief Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court; a practicing lawyer; Idaho State Bar President; judge of the Idaho Court of Appeals; assistant attorney general for the State of Idaho; and as an educator and administrator, serving as dean of the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville in Kentucky before accepting the dean’s post at UI in 2002.
The Idaho State Bar’s Professionalism Award is defined as an articulation of respect, appreciation and commendation from the recipient’s peers.
“Anyone who knows Don Burnett knows that he embodies professionalism and instills it in his colleagues as well as his students,” said Seamon. “He has a brilliant legal mind and is a gifted speaker and writer. Beyond that, he is incredibly and unfailingly warmhearted, humble and generous. I am most grateful to have him as a colleague and mentor.”