Recipients of the Frank Evans Award

2020 – Joe Bontke

Mr. Joe Bontke of Houston was awarded the Evans Award posthumously. Mr. Bontke was the outreach coordinator and ombuds for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission starting in 2002. He traveled the United States and around Texas educating employers, human resource professionals, and mediators on issues ranging from communication to implicit bias.


2018 – Christopher Nolland

Mr. Christopher Nolland of Dallas is known as a go-to mediator for the resolution of complex disputes. In addition to his private mediation practice, Mr. Nolland has served as an Adjunct Professor at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law since 1997. He has been listed in D Magazine and Texas Monthly as one of the best attorneys in Dallas and in the state of Texas. He has also been identified as a first-tier mediator by U.S. News and World Report and a National ADR Champion by the National Law Journal.


2017 – Eric Galton & Joey Cope

Mr. Eric Galton of Austin is a pioneer in the ADR field, having started mediating in 1989. In addition to being a mediator, Mr. Galton is an arbitrator. He has served as President of the International Academy of Mediators. Mr. Galton is a prolific author, including authoring the ABA published book, Stories Mediators Tell. He has also taught at the University of Texas and Pepperdine University.

Mr. Joey Cope of Abilene and Dallas is similarly a leader in Texas in ADR. He has been associated with Abilene Christian University since 1989, and in 2000, became the founding executive director of the Duncum Center for Conflict Resolution, and then later, the executive director of Duncum Center Solutions. Mr. Cope has served as the chair of the State Bar of Texas ADR Section and a credentialed holder in the Texas Mediator Credentialing Association. He is also the co-author of West Publishing’s Texas Practice Guide-Alternative Dispute Resolution. Mr. Cope has served as an adjunct professor at the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University, the William H. Bowen School of Law in Little Rock, Arkansas, and at the Department of Dispute Resolution and Counseling at Southern Methodist University.


2016 – Hon. Alvin L. Zimmerman & John Allen Chalk

Hon. Alvin Zimmerman is actively involved in family law. He also serves as a mediator and arbitrator in Harris County, Texas, with extensive alternative dispute resolution (ADR) experience. Judge Zimmerman also serves as a special judge for hire, special master, ad litem, and conducts investigations for educational institutions. He has participated in over 500 arbitrations and 3,000 mediations in his career. He has a broad-based legal experience including presiding as a municipal court judge for the city of Houston, and, as a state district judge of the 269th (Civil) and 309th (Family) District Courts. He has also served as assistant attorney general for the state of Texas and briefing clerk for the Honorable Judge Ingraham, federal district judge for the Southern District of Texas. In addition to his practice, Judge Zimmerman has served on the board of directors of a national bank and was counsel to and on the board of directors of a New York Stock Exchange company. He is also active in many charitable organizations. In May 2000, he received the Anti-Defamation League’s Karen H. Susman Jurisprudence Award, which is presented annually to an outstanding member of the legal community who exhibits an exceptional commitment to equality, justice, fairness, and community service. Judge Zimmerman received the University of Houston Distinguished Alumni Award in April 2009. He served as the Chair of the ADR Section in 2012.

Mr. John Allen Chalk of Fort Worth served as Chair of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section in 2009-2010.  Mr. Chalk is a long-time member of the College of Commercial Arbitrators, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, the Association of Attorney Mediators, and the Texas Attorney-Mediators Coalition.  A distinguished arbitrator, Mr. Chalk is a panel member for the American Arbitration Association, the American Health Lawyers Association, the CPR Institute, and the London Court of International Arbitration, among others. He is also a distinguished advocate who has served as president of the American Inns of Court chapter in Fort Worth and the Tarrant County Bar Association.


2015 – William H. Lemons

Mr. Bill Lemons of San Antonio served as a Chair of the State Bar’s ADR Section. He has been an active advocate for ADR, including testifying before the Texas Legislature. He has also served as the President of the Association of Attorney Mediators and has been inducted into the Texas Chapter of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals.


2013 – Mike Amis

Mr. Mike Amis of Dallas was among the first attorney-mediators in Dallas, beginning his mediation practice in 1989. Over the succeeding years, Mr. Amis joined others in training attorneys and judges both in Texas and other states as mediators in and in organizing attorney-mediator groups.  In 2012, the Texas Supreme Court proposed to expedite trials of civil cases valued at $100,000 or less by streamlining pre-trial procedures, one feature of which was to prohibit a trial court’s exercise of its discretionary power to compel mediation.  Many experienced counsel and mediators felt this proposed restriction was not necessary and wished the Court to reconsider.  Mr. Amis and 2000 Frank Evans Award winner, Ms. Suzanne Duvall, led a successful state-wide campaign among trial counsel, clients, and mediators to achieve the Court’s modification so as to preserve a court’s discretionary power to compel mediation. This effort ultimately led to the formation of Texas Attorney-Mediators Coalition, an organization devoted to representing Texas mediators and mediation before the Texas Supreme Court and the Legislature. In 2013, the SBOT ADR Section recognized Mr. Amis’ contributions by honoring him with its Frank Evans Award.


2012 – John C. Fleming & Lonnie Schooler

Mr. John Fleming of Austin has been an unsung hero for the ADR Section who has always tracked ADR legislation, testified when necessary on short notice, and provided numerous updates at Continuing Legal Education meetings. Mr. Fleming was the Chair of the Section in 2007, and he recently stepped up again in regard to the new loser-pay legislation.

Mr. Fleming is Of Counsel to Hays & Owens L.L.P., and he practices in the area of banking, mortgage banking, financial services, regulatory and administrative law, commercial litigation, and arbitration. John is an adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Law and a frequent speaker on arbitration, banking, and mortgage law topics.

The American Arbitration Association honored him with the 2008 President’s Award for Leadership in Conflict Management in recognition for his work in arbitration, mediation, and education. Mr. Fleming also serves on the Commercial Arbitrator Roster. His articles on ADR have been published in many
professional publications.

Mr. Lionel M. Schooler of Houston, Texas, has practiced law for over 35 years and is a partner in the law firm of Jackson Walker, L.L.P. His practice areas include Labor and Employment, Litigation, Appellate, and Construction.

Since 1992, Mr. Schooler has developed extensive experience in arbitration as both an arbitrator and as an advocate. Lonnie is a panelist on the American Arbitration Association’s Panel of Arbitrators for Commercial, Construction, and Employment Cases. He is also a panelist of the International Centre for Dispute Resolution. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and has also been selected as a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation.

Mr. Schooler has been a member of the ADR Section of the State Bar since 1998, and he was on the Steering Committee and a presenter at the first State Bar of Texas seminar devoted solely to arbitration in 1998 in Dallas and Houston. He has also provided ethics training for arbitrators with the State Bar ADR Section. Lonnie served as a member of the Leadership Council of the Houston Bar Association’s ADR Section (now known as the Dispute Resolution Section) for 2007-2009 and 2010-2011.

Mr. Schooler has been the Editor of Appellate Lawyer, the monthly newsletter of the Houston Bar Association’s Appellate Law Section. He is the author of numerous professional publications. Two of his articles on arbitration won recognition as best legal articles for 1997 and 2001 in The Houston Lawyer.


2011 – Honorable Josefina M. Rendon

At the ADR Section’s annual meeting in San Antonio on June 23, 2011, Josefina M. Rendón, Judge of the 165th Judicial District Court of Harris County, Texas, received the Justice Frank G. Evans Award, which is presented annually to recognize a recipient’s exceptional efforts in furthering the use or research of alternative dispute resolution methods in Texas.

Judge Rendón earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1972 and a law degree in 1976, both from the University of Houston. When she graduated from law school, she worked in San Francisco for a year but soon returned to Texas. After practicing law in Houston for several years, she served three years as a commissioner on the City of Houston Civil Service Commission, then began her judicial career in 1983; she has served in some judicial capacity ever since. From 1983 to 1995, she was the judge of Houston’s Municipal Court No. 5, where she presided over cases involving city ordinances and the transportation, penal, and education codes.

After taking her first mediation training in 1993, Judge Rendón started mediating cases, often as a volunteer at the Dispute Resolution Center in Harris County. In 1995, she left her full-time job as a judge and started dedicating most of her time to mediation, but she continued to serve as an associate municipal judge in Houston. From 1995 to 2008, she established a successful mediation practice and mediated over 1,200 cases. During those years, she mediated cases for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, U.S. Postal Service, Texas Education Agency, and Key Bridge Foundation, among others, in addition to receiving referrals from private parties and their attorneys. In 2008, she was elected judge of the 165th District Court of Harris County. Since 2009, she has presided over that court, where she hears a wide range of civil cases and is a dedicated advocate for ADR processes.

While Judge Rendón developed her mediation practice, she also developed an outstanding record of service to the ADR profession. In addition to speaking to multiple mediation and ADR organizations on a wide range of topics during the entire period of her private mediation practice, she served on the board of directors of the Texas Association of Mediators (TAM) from 1999 to 2007 and was TAM’s president from 2005 to 2006. She also served on the Council of the ADR Section of the State Bar of Texas, the board of directors of the Houston Bar Association’s ADR Section, and the board of directors of the Houston Chapter of the Association for Conflict Resolution. Since 2007, she has served on the board of directors of the Dispute Resolution Center for Harris County. Internationally recognized for her ADR expertise, she has spoken at conferences and conducted facilitated dialogues in Peru, Panama, Venezuela and Ecuador.


2010 – Cecilia H. Morgan

Cecilia H. Morgan, Esq. is the 2010 recipient of the Justice Frank G. Evans Award for Outstanding Contribution to ADR in the State of Texas. Ms. Morgan received the award at the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting in Fort Worth on June 10. The award was created and dedicated as a living tribute to Justice Frank G. Evans who is considered the founder of the alternative dispute resolution movement in Texas. It is awarded annually to persons who have performed exceptional and outstanding efforts in promoting or furthering the use or research of alternative dispute resolution methods in Texas.

Cecilia is a full-time mediator and arbitrator based in the Dallas Jams Resolution Center. She has more than 30 years of experience as an attorney and ADR professional and is a respected member of JAMS Employment, Healthcare, and Financial Services Practice Groups. Ms. Morgan has also been named one of Texas’ Best Alternative Dispute Resolution Lawyers by The Best Lawyers in America every year since 2008. She earned her J. D. from Texas Tech University School of Law in 1977 and her B.A. from Abilene Christian University in 1974. “I am humbled to be a recipient of the Justice Frank G. Evans Award,” said Ms. Morgan. “It is gratifying to receive this special award and I am happy to have been part of the movement promoting ADR statewide. As the use of ADR evolves in Texas, we will continue to find innovative ways to meet the needs of those seeking efficient, timely, and cost-effective resolutions.”

“Cecelia has been our colleague at JAMS for 19 years. We could have not succeeded without her dedication and commitment. Her unselfish training and mentoring of others to establish and sustain this profession is a credit to all of her colleagues. For me, she is the best ‘I can count on you partner.’” says Harlan Martin, JAMS Mediator/Arbitrator in Dallas.


2009 – Michael J. Kopp


2008 – Robyn G. Pietsch & Walter Wright


2007 – Cynthia Taylor Krier & Charles R. “Bob” Dunn


2006 – Michael J. Schless

The Texas ADR statute in 1987 required the judges in the state to devise a plan to implement ADR in their jurisdictions. As one such judge, Mike figured if he was going to be ordering people to mediate, he ought to know what mediation is. So he took his first course in ADR and immediately became hooked. As a mediator and arbitrator since he left the bench in 1992, Mike has been actively involved in the ADR community. In addition to his full-time ADR practice, since 2012 Mike has been teaching negotiation and mediation to the brilliant young minds at the UT School of Law.


2005 – Maxel “Bud” & Rena Silverberg


2004 – Brian D. Shannon


2003 – Honorable John Coselli


2002 – Gary Condra


2001 – John Palmer

Mr. Palmer, from Waco, is a TMCA Credentialed Distinguished Mediator, has served on the Texas Mediator Credentialing Association, and is a proponent of quality mediation. He served the ADR Section as a past chair. He has also held the top leadership positions in the Texas Association of Mediators and the Texas Mediator Credentialing Association. Mr. Palmer is one of the founders of the McLennan County Dispute Resolution Center. He mediates and practices law with Naman, Howell, Smith, and Lee, PLLC.


2000 – Suzanne Mann Duvall

Ms. Suzanne Duvall of Dallas was at the beginning of the mediation movement in Texas and has been a force ever since.  She specializes in the mediation of family disputes including divorce, custody, guardianship, and probate as well as a broad range of civil matters. She has served on the faculty of numerous ADR training organizations including the State Bar of Texas, Dallas Bar Association, Texas A&M School of Law, SMU School of Law, and Texas Woman’s University.  She has served as the Chair of the Texas Bar ADR Section and multiple terms as the Chair of the State Bar of Texas Professionalism Committee.  She has also served as the President of the Association of Attorney-Mediators and The Texas Association of Mediators.  She is considered one of the foremost experts on ethics in mediation.  She has been honored as the first recipient of the Texas Mediator Credentialing Association’s Outstanding Credentialed Mediator Award, the Association of Attorney Mediator’s Steve Brutsche’ Award, the American Arbitration Association’s Steve Brutsche’ Award for Professional Excellence in Dispute Resolution along with many other awards recognizing her service to the profession as well as the excellence of her practice from many organizations and her peers.


1999 – C. Bruce Stratton


1998 – Edward F. Sherman


1997 – Honorable Nancy Atlas


1996 – Bill Low


1995 – Kimberlee Kovach