Countryman Award

Each year NCLC presents the Vern Countryman Consumer Law Award to a legal services or other public interest attorney whose special contributions to the practice of consumer law have strengthened and affirmed the rights of low-income Americans.

Since the first award was presented in 1990 to Henry J. Sommer for his leadership in promoting the field of consumer law, the Vern Countryman Award has quickly become the top honor for consumer attorneys with 15 or more years of experience. We are most proud to know these outstanding advocates and applaud their efforts on behalf of low-income consumers. Winners include some of the most highly regarded consumer advocates in the country:

Dale Irwin, 2014
Richard N. Feferman, 2013 
David Leen, 2012
Carlene McNulty, 2011


O. Randolph Bragg, 2010
Michael D. Donovan, 2009
Bernard E. Brown, 2008
Mallam J. Maynard, 2007
F. Paul Bland, Jr., 2006
Irv Ackelsberg, 2005
Gail Hillebrand, 2004
Dan Hedges, 2003
Joanne Faulkner, 2002
Lynn Drysdale, 2001
Richard Rubin, 2000


Kathleen Keest, 1999
Alan Alop, 1998
David Ramp, 1997
Elizabeth Imholz, 1996
James Sturdevant, 1995
Patricia Sturdevant, 1995
Michael Ferry, 1994
William Brennan, 1993
Carolyn Carter, 1992
Margot Freeman Saunders, 1991
Henry Sommer, 1990

Nominate the Next Countryman Winner

If you know of an outstanding attorney who is deserving of this recognition, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for information on the nomination process. Our guidelines are simple: the nominee must have demonstrated excellence in working on low-income consumer or energy issues for at least 10 years; or recently obtained legal relief through judicial, administrative, or legislative action which brought significant benefit to a large number of low-income consumers.

Nominations may be submitted by anyone familiar with the work of the candidate. Nominating materials should include: Candidate’s resume; a description of the work which qualifies for the award; and two or more references who may be contacted about the work.

We welcome your help in identifying the next deserving recipient!