The Gordon Sinykin Award of Excellence recognizes a lawyer or organization for work on an individual law-related education or public service project in the preceding year. The award is presented at the Member Recognition Celebration.
1993 – Louise G. Trubek, Madison
1994 – Young Lawyer Division Law Day for the Clergy Committee
1995 – Hon. William D. Dyke, Dodgeville
1996 – La Crosse County Bar
1997 – John S. Skilton, Madison
1998 – La Crosse County Bar Association
1999 – Jefferson County Bar Association
2000 – Dane County Bar Association
2001 – Racine County Bar Association
2002 – Marathon Bar Association (Shane Falk)
2003 – Jerome M. Elliott, Beloit
2004 – Michele M. LaVigne, Madison
2005 – Irene Wren, Madison
2006 – Marsha M. Mansfield, Madison
2007 – Jennifer L. Binkley, Madison
2008 – Michael Hatch, Madison and Bruce Keyes, Milwaukee
2010 – Jenifer Binder, Stevens Point and Kristine Louise Havlik, Milwaukee
2014 – Kenneth A. Knudson, Andover, MN
Who was Gordon Sinykin?
June 18, 1910 – Jan. 25, 1991
Gordon Sinykin served as Wisconsin Law Foundation president in the mid-1970s and on the board and Executive Committee until his death in 1991. He was a leader in the foundation’s fundraising efforts for the Lawyer Hotline, Mock Trial and Dane County Mediation programs, Project Inquiry (which involved lawyers teaching high school students), and for State Bar publications On Being 18 and The Bill of Rights – An Introduction.
Sinykin was an organizer of the National Conference of Bar Foundations (NCBF). He served as its president and his efforts helped move its membership from a few state bar foundations to nearly all state bar foundations, including all large local bar foundations and several Canadian bar foundations. The NCBF is more than 100 strong today.
He served as president of the Dane County Bar Association, on the State Bar Board of Governors, as a Wisconsin representative to the American Bar Association, and along with Assistant Attorney General Warren Resh, he won the case of Lathrop v. Donahue, which upheld integration of the Wisconsin Bar in 1961.
Sinykin served Wisconsin as an important member of the campaigns of Gov. Phillip F. LaFollette and Sen. Robert M. LaFollette Jr. and in the formation of the Progressive Party of Wisconsin in 1934. He was also a member of the Judicial Commission, a drafter of the insurance code, and served in several appointed positions in Dane County and the city of Madison.
A major in the U.S. Air Force during WWII, Sinykin received the Bronze Star and witnessed the signing of the Japanese surrender on the Battleship Missouri.