The UA Little Rock Bowen School Law is hosting its Annual Scholarship Luncheon on Thursday, October 26, 2017, from 11:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., at the Marriott Grand Ballroom in Little Rock, Arkansas. This year’s event honors Richard Bell (’81) and Professor Suzanne Penn for their outstanding public and professional service.
Throughout his career, Richard Bell has developed a passion for helping others achieve their career and financial goals.
In his professional capacity, he has been dedicated to improving both his chosen field through publication and teaching, and his clients’ livelihoods by addressing matters important to them. Part of his life’s work has been helping financially distressed companies to restructure, regain viability and once again, become profitable companies that provide jobs for employees and their families.
Within the Little Rock community, Richard and his colleagues at Bell & Company are active in giving back through firm donations and staff time commitments in serving the underserved and the homeless in the community. The Bell firm was recognized nationally as the AICPA Public Service Firm of the Year for 2011, a recognition at this time only 11 firms have received.
The firm also sponsors an AMBCS mountain bike team that is known for its volunteer work in bike trail maintenance and advocacy.
Bell & Company has established foundation scholarships, work-study programs, and mentoring groups for college students. They have also created the Bell and Company Endowed Law Scholarship at the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law.
“We believe that investing financially, by providing a scholarship to a law student, will generate a return many times over as the student will hopefully pass on the same opportunity to another in the future,” said Bell. “One of our greatest accomplishments each year is to meet, for the first time, the scholarship recipient as we share their journey through education and eventually through their career.”
Richard attributes his success to his childhood encouragement and support of his parents; his wife of 40 years, Lee; the Bell firm members; and highly respected mentors. Richard’s sister, Nell Sterling, is a partner at Bell & Company and they have practiced together for 30 years. Richard and Lee have two adult children, Clayton and Jennifer. Jennifer is an attorney and CPA who is one of the firm partners and manages the Conway location. Jennifer serves on a local bank advisory board, and the Community Foundation for Faulkner County. Clayton is a M.D. who is on the medical staff at the University of Tennessee, with practice emphasis on integrative medicine. Clayton is also nationally recognized for his volunteer work in Haiti, through a non-profit he established, Where the Stars Still Shine.
Professor Suzanne Penn is an Associate Professor of Clinical Law at William H. Bowen School of Law. Her commitment to public interest law began while she was in law school, where she founded, organized and was the first president of the Tulane Public Interest Law Foundation. Professor Penn’s practice experience includes positions at Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, the Arkansas Department of Human Services, and the Center for Arkansas Legal Services. She has handled a variety of civil cases, but her specialties are family, juvenile and disability law. She has served on the board of the Arkansas affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, and she is past president of the board of Mainstream, an advocacy organization for persons with disabilities.
In 2014, her dedication to public service, her community, and her students led her to create a clinical experience for law students in the Delta region of Arkansas, an area that has long been underserved by attorneys.
The Delta Project is comprised of two courses: The Delta Experience and the Delta Clinic. In the Delta Experience course, students travel to the Delta to educate low-income residents about grounds for divorce and what is necessary to obtain one without attorney representation. In the Delta Clinic course, students travel with Penn to Desha and Chicot counties to conduct client interviews, perform fact investigations related to case success, prepare divorce complaints and motions for fee waivers for clients. The students appear in courts as needed to represent their clients and also observe sessions of the courts.
This year, Professor Penn was recognized as one of the top University of Arkansas at Little Rock faculty members for 2017. She received a Faculty Excellence award for public service, recognizing her dedication to serving individuals who do not have access to legal assistance.
She was honored during an April 13 reception at UA Little Rock George W. Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology Auditorium. The 15 members of the UA Little Rock Board of Visitors reviewed the achievements and selected the winners.
Tickets for the event are $100, $60 of which is tax deductible. Sponsorships begin at $1,500 and include 10 tickets, recognition in the event program, and your name on your company’s table. Other sponsorship packages are available. Net proceeds benefit Bowen student scholarships.