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Group Honors Mary Catherine Rabbitt for Leading by Example

Posted on November 1, 2018, by Martha Alderson CoL

Mary Catherine Rabbitt accepts the first-ever John J. Campbell Award for her ‘outstanding contributions to the practice of elder law in the state of Colorado.’ The award was presented to her at an Aug. 24 dinner in her honor.
Photo courtesy of Colorado Bar Association/Elder Law Section

As reported in the September issue of Interchange, Mary Catherine Rabbitt received the John J. Campbell Award for her work with Colorado Elder Law. The award ceremony was at Vail, Colo., on Aug. 24. It is impressive, not only that Mary Catherine has this award but also that she is the first recipient.

The award is for “outstanding contributions to the practice of Elder Law in the State of Colorado.” It is named for John J. Campbell, a well-respected elder law attorney who practiced law in Missouri and then in Colorado. He died in early 2017. Campbell’s credentials are numerous, with many accolades in the legal community but also the community at large.

Mary Catherine fits the criteria for the award and follows the example of the person for whom the award is named.

Criteria include these kinds of contributions: significant years of contribution to the Elder Law Section and the legal profession; substantial work to benefit older adults and/or people with disabilities; years of experience providing legal education to other attorneys, members of the public and providing pro-bono or low-cost representation to those in need; building and encouraging relationships among non-lawyers and attorneys working in elder law; work in public policy, forming a relationship with government agencies and individuals to facilitate elder law policy in Colorado; advancing the legislative agenda of the Colorado Bar Association; mentoring new or less experienced attorneys in the area of elder law; participation in professional organizations; a leader who leads by example.

In accepting the award, Mary Catherine commented on the significance of several of the criteria. About collaboration and mentoring, she said, “I can honestly say that, from the beginning, the elder law community has been a welcoming, nurturing place to practice among and to learn from equals.” About community service, she said, “The very first Senior Law Day in Denver was given at DU [Denver University] Law School in the early 1990s and the first “Colorado Senior Law Handbook” was published in 1997. Since then, Senior Law Days and ‘Ask-an-Attorney’ sessions have blossomed across the state.” She added that the handbook is an invaluable resource for elders and their families. She commented on the advocacy criterion by saying that this group has “exercised considerable leadership in the development and implementation of mandatory reporting of elder abuse in Colorado.”

Mary Catherine received a standing ovation, and according to an attorney reporting, “the tears in the audience from your humble and eloquent acceptance said it all.” She went on to say, “Your selfless advocacy and pioneering accomplishments inspire the entire elder law community. We had no doubt you are the most deserving first recipient of the award.”


Martha Alderson CoL

Martha Alderson has been a Loretto Co-member since 1984. She is retired from the publishing industry and more recently from being on the Loretto Community staff as coordinator of co-membership services. She served one term on the first Community Forum. For several years she was an editor and layout person for Interchange (Loretto's internal newsletter) and now edits two issues of that newsletter. At the present she is on the Special Needs Committee and the Motherhouse Coordinating Board. She does the occasional proofreading and editing of Loretto publications.
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