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Jennifer Cranston 2013 Member of the Year
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Jennifer Cranston receives Mills Member of the Year award

By Steven Hirsch

 

            Former MCBA President and all-around county bar activist Jennifer Cranston is the recipient of the 2013 Robert R. Mills Member of the Year Award.

            Cranston, a shareholder at Gallagher and Kennedy, was cited for going well above and beyond the traditional level of service to the MCBA as a longtime volunteer, officer and president of both the MCBA and its Young Lawyers Division. As one member of the selection committee noted, “Jennifer would probably be the front runner for MCBA Member of the Decade, if we had such a thing.”

            Cranston’s collective efforts to reinvigorate both the YLD and the association, her unsung years of service on the MCBA Finance Committee, and restoring luster and prominence to the annual Barristers Ball and the Hall of Fame/Member of the Year Luncheon are all among the hallmarks of her achievements during more than a decade of continuous service to the MCBA.

            Her law practice has three primary areas: real estate disputes, including condemnation and valuation matters; insurance coverage analysis and bad faith litigation; and public utility regulation. She is as equally at home in the courtroom and Arizona Corporation Commission hearing rooms as she is prowling the hallways of the MCBA offices. She is an Order of the Coif graduate of the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law and earned her undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude, at St. Mary’s College of California.

            Cranston has also been recognized as an AV Pre-eminent Lawyer in the Martindale-Hubbell peer review ratings, a Rising Star in the eminent domain and insurance coverage practice areas by Southwest Super Lawyers, and she is a member of the “Forty Under 40” group recognized by The Business Journal in 2010.

            Her devotion to public service transcends her work for the MCBA. In particular, Cranston has served as a steering committee member on the Valley of the Sun United Way Women’s Leadership Council and as a member of the VSUW’s Public Policy and Advocacy Committee. If you look closely on the current VSUW fundraising video, you’ll see her working to serve the needs of the county’s underprivileged.

            When told of the award, Cranston stated, “It’s not very often that I am struck speechless, but today was such an occasion. I was and am extremely touched and honored by your nomination.”

            The MCBA Member of the Year Award was created in honor of Bob Mills for service above the realm of normal volunteerism. The association awarded it annually after Mills first received the award posthumously in 1984, until a recent five-year hiatus, which ended with conferring the award on the Hon. Glenn Davis last year. Mills was a prominent trial lawyer with the former Phoenix firm of Evans, Kitchel and Jenckes, and was an active member and treasurer of the MCBA at the time of his death at age 51.

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