Jack Gilkey Honored With Judge L.F. Cottey Advocacy Award

Jack Gilkey shared his thoughts on recently receiving the Judge L.F. Cottey Advocacy Award with Mizzou Law.

I am deeply honored to be the recipient of the Judge L.F. Cottey Advocacy Award. Judge Cottey had a broad range of knowledge and skill in many areas of law, but he is especially remembered for his aptitude and passion for written and oral advocacy. For this reason, the family and friends of Judge Cottey established this award in order to promote excellence in those areas he most cherished.

For me, this award serves as a reminder that advocacy is the highest calling, and greatest responsibility, of being a lawyer. In fact, advocacy was what drew me to the legal profession. While I thoroughly enjoyed my chemical engineering education, it did not take me long to learn that even the most technical of disciplines face issues and challenges within the legal landscape. My passion lies in helping individuals navigate the legal system’s rules and their nuances. Once in law school, I found that this not only requires advisement but also advocating for the interests of these individuals to ensure legal systems do not forget those they were built to serve and protect.

More than anything, I am grateful to attend a university whose faculty and alumni place such a high value on advocacy skills. Specifically, Professor Alexander and the writing department have done such a phenomenal job honing the advocacy skills of their students. While each of us may wish to advocate for a wide range of individuals or issues, it cannot be denied how much we owe to the bedrock laid through this curriculum.

To paraphrase Blackstone, a right is nothing without a remedy. I think of advocacy as the role attorneys play in establishing those rights and obtaining their remedies. Judge Cottey always emphasized that the skills lawyers employ when advocating for their clients are just as important skills in analyzing the legal issue. He never wavered from these principles, and he lived life as an extraordinary advocate. I only hope I can, someday, live up to the example set by the man behind the award.

You can see the full list of Law Day award recipients here.