Uncommon Counselor Award

The David S. Stoner Uncommon Counselor Award is given to a member of the legal profession who exhibits extraordinary compassion and concern for his co-workers, family, friends, and community. The Award is named in memory of David S. Stoner, a founding Director and Vice President of the Dave Nee Foundation from 2006 to 2010. David Stoner, a close friend of Dave Nee, valued family and friendship above all else, and his devotion to those he loved was unparalleled. David's respect and compassion for others was unmatched and his life was a shining example of many of the Foundation’s most fundamental beliefs: that no one needs to feel alone, that we must care for one another, and that through true friendship and stewardship we can overcome anything, even the disease of depression.

The Dave Nee Foundation is proud to present the 2013 David S. Stoner Uncommon Counselor Award to James T. R. Jones, Professor of Law, University of Louisville’s Louis D. Brandeis School of Law for his courageous leadership demonstrated by openly sharing his inspirational story as a person living with bipolar disorder and receiving effective treatment.

Professor Jones received his B.A. with highest distinction from the University of Virginia, where he was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society, and his J.D. with honors from Duke University School of Law, where he was selected for the Order of the Coif and graduated second in the class of 1978.   Before entering an academic career, he clerked for a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and worked in private practice at Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York City and a firm in Florida. In 1985, he entered teaching as a Bigelow Teaching Fellow and Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School. He joined the faculty of the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville in 1986, where he is a tenured full professor of law and teaches courses in torts, decedents’ estates and trusts, and appellate practice.

For most of his life Professor Jones hid, mostly for fear of stigma, his decades-long battle with severe mental illness.  He has attempted suicide and been hospitalized five times for periods ranging from a few days to over six months.  In 2008 he went public with his condition in an article that went to all law professors in the nation; in the process he became one of two law professors in the country publicly to acknowledge suffering from a severe mental illness. Since then he has written and spoken extensively about successful professionals who suffer from serious psychiatric diseases.  In particular he has addressed roughly seventy-five classes of law, medical, nursing, psychology, social work, and occupational therapy students, demonstrating to them that many of the stereotypes their professions hold about their clients with mental illnesses are unjustified and inaccurate and fighting the terrible problem of suicide.  In 2011 he published his memoir A Hidden Madness.  His constant message is that “stigma’s wrong, and treatment works!”

The Dave Nee Foundation Honors Georgetown Law Deans for Mental Health Advocacy Among Law Students

The Dave Nee Foundation honored William Treanor, Dean at Georgetown University Law Center and Mitchell Bailin, Dean of Students at Georgetown University Law Center with its 2012 David S. Stoner Uncommon Counselor Award.  The Award is given annually to a member or members of the legal profession who exhibit extraordinary compassion and concern for their co-workers, family, friends, and community.

William Treanor was honored for his leadership at both Fordham and Georgetown Law Schools in the area of mental health awareness.  In the wake of Dave Nee’s suicide, Treanor not only was a source of great comfort and support to the Fordham Law community, he made mental health and suicide prevention programs a priority.  In addition, Dean Treanor was an integral part of the Dave Nee Foundation’s inception and has been an advocate of the organization ever since.  His support has been critical to the Foundation's success.

Mitchell Bailin has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of mental health issues at Georgetown Law by building a network of resources available to his students and using various methods to inform the student body of them.  Most notably, Dean Bailin is praised for the personal relationships he has built with his students.  A former student stated, “When my law professor scheduled a meeting for me with Dean Bailin, I thought getting through my depression was hopeless.  Little did I know that Dean Bailin would be a source of hope throughout the hardest struggle of my life. . . .  He is the one who I can’t thank enough.  And I am just one of the many students he has helped.”  Other law school administrators have similarly praised Bailin’s work, commenting that his department is the “gold standard” for mental health awareness.

The David S. Stoner Uncommon Counselor Awards were presented at the Dave Nee Foundation’s Annual Gala on November 2, 2012 at Capitale in New York City.

The Dave Nee Foundation was created in the wake of the 2005 suicide of Dave Nee, a brilliant individual who struggled silently with depression for many years.  The Dave Nee Foundation’s innovative and unique program, Uncommon Counsel, fights depression and works to prevent suicide by educating law students about depression, its prevalence in the legal profession, and the availability and effectiveness of treatment.  The Dave Nee Foundation also administers a grant-giving program that includes an annual grant awarded to a deserving organization whose mission is to support those with depression and/or prevent suicide.

The Dave Nee Foundation will proudly bestow the 2011 David S. Stoner Uncommon Counselor Award on Michael J. Lane, Esq., at the 2011 Gala for his commitment to the betterment of the legal profession and his compassion and concern for his fellow attorneys and for law students. Mr. Lane is a Shareholder with the law firm of Anderson Kill & Olick, P.C. and an Adjunct Professor at Fordham University School of Law. Mr. Lane has over twenty-five years of experience as a civil litigator and has taught Legal Research and Writing to first-year students at Fordham Law School since 1993. Mr. Lane is known at his firm as a zealous advocate for his clients who genuinely cares for his co-workers. At Fordham, Professor Lane is held in the highest esteem and beloved by his students who, in addition to receiving a practical and wide-ranging education in the art of legal research and writing, know that Professor Lane cares about them as people and serves as a mentor and confidant. Since the Foundation’s inception, Mr. Lane has been a passionate supporter of the activities of the Dave Nee Foundation. It is his unwavering commitment to the well-being of his fellow members of the bar and law students, however, that have earned him this honor.

The Dave Nee Foundation proudly announced that its inaugural 2010 Uncommon Counselor Award recipient was Michael Student, Counsel at Sullivan & Worcester, LLP, and long-serving Pro Bono Counsel for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Mr. Student is an outstanding attorney whose practice focuses on counseling foreign companies on expansion in the U.S.  Mr. Student is particularly known for his superior service to clients in Finland and other Nordic countries.  Despite the rigors of maintaining a large practice, Mr. Student has carved out countless hours to serve as Pro Bono Legal Counsel for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  The AFSP is the largest not-for-profit addressing suicide in the country and Mr. Student's efforts enable that organization to fund scientific research, offer education programs about mood disorders and suicide prevention, and promote policies and legislation that impact suicide and prevention efforts in a cost-effective and efficient manner.  Mr. Student's dedication to AFSP, the legal profession, and suicide prevention are remarkable and the Foundation is proud to present him with our inaugural Uncommon Counselor Award.