HARRISBURG (Feb. 25, 2021) — The Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Conference of County Bar Leaders (CCBL) has honored Denise M. Burdge, executive director of the Monroe County Bar Association, with its annual Arthur J. Birdsall Award. The award was presented during the 55th Annual Seminar of the Conference of County Bar Leaders held virtually on Feb. 25.
The award is given to a county bar executive who demonstrates professional excellence, who is committed to the success of his or her bar association and who significantly enhances the stature of his or her bar association. It is named in honor of Arthur J. Birdsall, the PBA’s county bar services director who retired after nearly 40 years of support to local bar associations.
Since becoming the bar association’s executive director in 2011, Burdge has been determined to help the organization, its members and the legal community excel. At the Monroe County Bar Association, she has expanded and formalized pro bono programs and developed a Modest Means program to make certain legal services more affordable to lower income residents. Burdge oversaw and coordinated multiple and extensive renovations to the Monroe County Bar Association’s offices. She was instrumental in the expansion of the association’s Young Lawyers Division, the annual Bench Bar events, fairytale trials in elementary schools, mock trials and Law Day events. At the beginning of the pandemic, Burdge embraced the technology required to maintain all services of the association, hosting virtual meetings, communicating updates on court procedures and offering free continuing legal education programs.
She worked with Lori J. Cerato. a past president of the association, to produce Celebrating 100 Years: A Reflection of Our History, a book honoring the association’s anniversary. Burdge also oversees requests to the association for charitable donations and grants, and assists in the coordination of fundraising events like the annual A. Mitchell Palmer Award Dinner.
A regular attendee of the Conference of County Bar Leaders and an active Pennsylvania Association of Bar Executives member, Burdge communicates openly about her bar association’s activities and encourages participation in them. She is always willing to listen to new ideas, frequently promotes programs and events, and oversees the planning and implementation of both legal and social activities. Burdge helps members connect with one another, as well as assists attorneys find local nonprofit organizations that match their interests.
The Conference of County Bar Leaders, whose membership includes leaders from county bar associations throughout the state and from the Pennsylvania Bar Association, organizes a yearly educational conference focusing on the exchange of innovative bar association projects and ideas and on the development of mutually-beneficial relationships among bar leaders that improve the legal profession.
Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association strives to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access of legal services; and serve the lawyer members of the state’s largest organized bar association.