HONESDALE—The Wayne County Bar Association (WCBA) presented seasoned attorney Alfred Howell with the first ever, Louis A. Fine Professional Achievement Award, Thursday morning.

The award is a new honor bestowed upon the attorney who most embodies the superlative quality of the eponymous Louis A. Fine, esquire.

Attorney Pamela Wilson, President of the WCBA, explained award recipients must demonstrate criteria including “indefatigable energy, compassion, zealous and relentless advocacy and representation of clients with utmost integrity...”

Other criteria Wilson mentioned include an adept ability to co-council, respect one's professional opponents, share legal advice with younger associates “without reservation,” and loyalty and dedication to one's family and clients.

She noted, in the Bar's eyes, Howell exemplified all these qualities and more.

Howell has been licensed to practice law for over 50 years.

Speaking to Howell's character, President Judge Janine Edwards noted he is an ardent supporter of youth sports, “... not just supporting his own kids but supporting every athlete.”

Edwards noted when she started practicing law, Howell was often a helpful mentor from whom she learned a great deal.

“As a judge, I now consider Fred as a statesman, someone who is skilled experienced and respected,” said Edwards. “He wears many hats in our community. He is a father, a grandfather and husband first, a world traveler, a lawyer, an athlete, and well deserving of the honor today he is receiving.”

Likewise lauding Howell, Attorney Richard Fine, son of Louis A. Fine, stated, “It is particularly fitting that the selection committee has chosen Fred Howell as its first honoree. There has been a longstanding relationship between the Fine and Howell families. And I'm sure that my father would be gratified, as am I, by this selection.”

In addition to the Louis A. Fine Professional Achievement Award, Howell also received a certificate of recognition from the Wayne County Board of Commissioners.

Reading the certificate aloud, Commissioner Chairman Brian Smith stated Howell “...has been a constant, positive presence and a standard for the entire Wayne County legal community...”

Smith also stated, “as a long-time Wayne County Economic Development Corporation solicitor and a former Honesdale Borough solicitor, Attorney Howell has advocated for the interest of Wayne County residents over the course of his professional career many times.”

Receiving the Bar's accolades and a certificate of recognition from the Wayne County Board of Commissioners, Howell stated he was “blessed” to be viewed in the same light as the late Attorney Fine.

Wishing attendees a Happy Valentine's Day and thanking his friends, family and colleagues for being in attendance, Howell said, “This honor that has been bestowed upon me is one that I shall long remember in pride. I thank everyone who has made this occasion a memorable, rewarding and honoring experience for me.”

Howell later added, “Listening to the remarks that have been made, I have some difficulty realizing that that is me. I have been portrayed with all my warts removed and roughages smoothed.

“It is a portrait that has touched and humbled me and what makes this occasion so moving for me.”

The Louis A. Fine Professional Achievement Award

“While it may seem that collegiality and integrity have been slipping away in our profession in recent years, they are ideals that still inspire us, and that I believe most of us aspire to achieve,” said Attorney Richard Fine at Thursday's award presentation.

He added, “The Louis A. Fine Professional Achievement Award was conceived as a way to encourage and preserve those exemplary qualities and to honor those among us who are outstanding in their adherence to them.”

WCBA President Pamela Wilson explained “Our former president, Ronald Bugaj, developed the idea for this program and this prestigious award.”

Finally realized with its inaugural honoree recognized Thursday, the award is expected to be an annual honor for superlative attorneys.

The award's eponymous Attorney Fine practiced law in Wayne County for nearly 70 years.

Judge Edwards noted, “Attorney Fine practiced in a world most of us are not familiar with today, a world where a handshake meant a deal and the camaraderie amongst the Bar was of the utmost importance.”

Calling attention to his credit as an individual, she further stated “An award in his name is an honor.”

Equating his father to President Theodore Roosevelt's “Man in the Area,” Richard Fine, esquire, stated Louis Fine often advocated cases against the odds in service of his client's needs.

“My father was blessed with an indomitable spirit and limitless energy,” said Fine. “He was a formidable adversary both in negotiations and in the courtroom. Yet, he was always willing to share his knowledge and experience with younger attorneys whether they were on his side or not.”

Fine added, “His colleagues considered him a gentleman. His family and friends knew him to be a deeply compassionate man.”