The Alabama State Bar on Friday inducted five new members into the Alabama Lawyers' Hall of Fame.
"The lawyers we are recognizing have improved the communities in which they live, have had a profound influence on our laws and have improved the quality of society by pursuing justice," Alabama State Bar President Anthony A. Joseph of Birmingham (Maynard Cooper & Gale PC) said.
The five lawyers inducted into the 2013 Alabama Lawyers' Hall of Fame include:
Marion Augustus Baldwin (1813–1865) – Baldwin received his undergraduate and master's degrees from the University of Alabama; read law and was admitted to practice in 1836; maintained a law office in Montgomery and was elected 8th circuit solicitor in 1843; elected attorney general in 1847 when the state capital was relocated to Montgomery; re-elected to successive terms, ultimately serving 18 years to become the longest-serving chief prosecuting officer in the state's history.
T. Massey Bedsole (1917 – 2011) – Bedsole practiced law for almost 60 years; served in the Navy during WWII; he was a respected community servant who served on the boards of numerous community, church and charitable organizations; served many educational institutions, including the University of Alabama as a member of the board of trustees; former president of the Mobile Bar Association and active in business affairs both locally and statewide.
William Dowdle Denson (1913 – 1998) – Denson was a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and Harvard Law School; entered private practice with his father in Birmingham before returning to West Point to teach; as a member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps, served as the chief war crimes prosecutor of Nazi leaders and others responsible for torturing, starving and executing hundreds of thousands of men, women and children at the Dachau, Mauthausen, Buchenwald and Flossenberg concentration camps; tried and successfully convicted more Nazi war criminals, 177 men and one woman, than in any of the other post-WWII war crimes trials.
Maud McLure Kelly (1887 – 1973) – Kelly was a lawyer, suffragist, historian and genealogist; she was a pioneer among Southern women during the early 20th century as the first woman to practice law in Alabama (admitted to the bar in 1908); on Feb. 22, 1914, on motion of then-Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, became the first woman admitted to the Bar of the U.S. Supreme Court as a practicing lawyer in the South; served as an example and role model for women who aspired to become professionals.
Seybourn Harris Lynne (1907 – 2000) – Lynne entered private practice and was later elected as county judge and then circuit judge; resigned judgeship at the outbreak of WWII to join the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps, initially working stateside until becoming a Judge Advocate in the Pacific Theater for the Army Air Corps; nominated by President Truman and confirmed in 1946 as a federal district judge; was the longest-serving federal judge at his death; rendered many important and historic decisions during his 54 years on the federal bench including the ruling enjoining Gov. George Wallace's efforts to block the integration of the University of Alabama in 1963.
The Alabama Lawyers' Hall of Fame inducted its first class in 2004, and has since inducted more than 40 Alabama lawyers. Inductees must have a distinguished career in law and each inductee must be deceased at least two years at the time of their selection. In addition, at least one of the inductees must be deceased a minimum of 100 years.
The newly unveiled plaques honoring each inductee are up for display in the Alabama Lawyers' Hall of Fame located on the lower level of the Heflin-Torbert Judicial Building.