Leonard A. “Len” Blackwell II of Biloxi will receive the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award presented during The Mississippi Bar's 2022 Annual Business Session held on July 15.
The Mississippi Bar presents the Lifetime Achievement Award to individuals who have devoted themselves to serving the public, the legal profession, and the administration of justice over the span of their professional careers, contributing significantly to the American system of justice and to the legal profession.
Blackwell, a long-time Gulf Coast attorney, is a former President of The Mississippi Bar and has been an active member of the Bar throughout his career. Blackwell is a former President of the Young Lawyers Division of The Mississippi Bar and served as a Mississippi Bar Commissioner. During his tenure as Bar President, Blackwell placed a strong emphasis on several substantive programs including encouraging increased diversity in member participation in the Bar; dealing with challenges associated with lawyer advertising; and working with the judicial branch on a Commission on the Courts in the 21st Century to recommend needed reforms to aid in the administration of justice. Recommendations from the Commission had a profound impact on the legal profession in Mississippi through needed legal reforms and the establishment of the Mississippi Court of Appeals. Blackwell was also instrumental in the founding of the Bar’s Lawyers and Judges Assistance Program through which he has had a lasting impact on the legal profession, changing and saving lives and careers.
Blackwell is a Fellow of the Mississippi Bar Foundation, an active member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and a former Chairman of the Mississippi Gaming Commission. He has been recognized as one of the "Best Lawyers® in America" in the field of Gaming Law and is also a Member of the International Masters of Gaming Law and the International Association of Gaming Attorneys. Blackwell has served the American Bar Association as a Young Lawyer Section Director and was the first Mississippi young lawyer elected to national office where he served as Clerk of the governing assembly for the Personal Finance Section Appellate Debate in 1975. He is also a former President of the Harrison County Bar Association. These are only examples of Blackwell’s many achievements during his storied career.
Blackwell graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1963 with a B.A. in History and English before receiving his Juris Doctorate from the University of Mississippi in 1966.