Laramie Attorney Recognized with Wyoming State Bar Service Award

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming State Bar is pleased to announce that Dona Playton, an attorney from Laramie, is the recipient of the Bar’s second annual John M. Burman Extraordinary Service Award. The award was presented today by former Governor Mike Sullivan during a small awards luncheon held in conjunction with the Bar’s Virtual Annual Meeting. Sullivan is the recipient of the first-ever award presented in 2019.

The John M. Burman Extraordinary Service Award is given in memory of Professor Burman, who died in February 2019, and who is remembered as a recognized expert in the field of legal and judicial ethics, codes of conduct for lawyers and judges, and professional responsibility. Burman was a prolific writer in these areas of the law, as well as in the law of children and families, the child welfare system, and the juvenile justice system. Professor Burman also served as a mentor to Playton.

The award was presented by former Governor and Casper attorney Michael J. Sullivan, who was the recipient of the Bar’s inaugural John M. Burman Extraordinary Service Award last year. Those nominating Playton were Billie L.M. Addleman, Cheyenne attorney, and James Whiting, Lander attorney.

Together Burman and Playton established the Domestic Violence Legal Assistance Project/Clinic in 2002. “Through this project, hundreds of law students have helped thousands of the most vulnerable members of our society during their most vulnerable period,” said Billie LM Addleman in his nomination of Playton.

Dona Playton currently serves as an Associate Professor at the University of Wyoming College of Law and Director of the Family and Child Legal Advocacy Clinic. She also serves as a Municipal Court Judge for the City of Laramie. Playton earned a B.S. in Administration of Justice from the University of Wyoming in 1989 and her Juris Doctor Degree from the UW College of Law in 1993. She has authored several publications including a domestic violence bench book used by Wyoming judges, a Women’s Law Handbook published by the Wyoming Commission on Women’s Issues, numerous articles and presentations on violence against women, child advocacy and family law issues.

Playton currently serves on the Access to Justice Commission, is an advisory board member for the Children’s Justice Project and is a past chair of the Wyoming State Bar’s Children & Family Law Section Council.

Playton has earned numerous awards throughout her legal career. Among those are the UW College of Law Extraordinary Merit Award in 2010, the UW College of Law Woman of Distinction Honor in 2012 and the Wyoming State Bar’s Gerald R. Mason Professionalism Award in 2016. She is also a 2008 graduate of Leadership Wyoming.

Playton is a Past President of the Albany County Bar Association, a member of the Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association, National Association of Women Lawyers and also licensed to practice law in Colorado.

Criteria for the John M. Burman Extraordinary Service Aware are extensive. Recipients must demonstrate a history of extraordinary service to Wyoming lawyers, the Wyoming State Bar, the University of Wyoming College of Law, the Wyoming judiciary, the citizens of Wyoming and the international community. Like Professor Burman, they must be recognized by their peers as exemplifying legal ethics and professional responsibility.

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