Witkin Award 2020 Honorees
Excellence in the Adjudication of the Law
The Honorable William B. Enright (Posthumously)
Judge William B. Enright sat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. Sadly, he passed away on March 7 of this year. He was nominated, confirmed, and appointed to the federal bench on June 30, 1972, and took the oath of office two weeks later on July 14, 1972. He took senior status in 1990, and maintained a heavy criminal and civil caseload until 2000.
Prior to his appointment to the bench, he served in the United States Navy during World War II. He was a Deputy District Attorney in San Diego County from 1951 to 1954. In 1954, he formed his own law firm, Harelson, Enright, Levitt & Knutson, and practiced criminal law until 1972. Throughout his career as a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney, he tried 223 jury trials. During his years as a trial lawyer, Enright devoted substantial time to State and local bar committees, including: Member, Board of Governors, State Bar of California (1967-70); Vice President, State Bar of California (1969-70); Attorney Member, California Judicial Council (1972); Member, Chair, and Advisor, Committee on Criminal Law and Procedure, State Bar of California (1962-67); Board of Directors and President, San Diego County Bar Association (1963-1965); Board of Directors and President, Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc. (1965-72); Board of Trustees, San Diego County Law Library and Justice Foundation (1965-68); and Board of Directors, Legal Aid Society (1962-64).
Judge Enright garnered many awards throughout his legal career. In 1969, he was named a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers and, in 1965, a Diplomate in the American Board of Trial Advocates. Other honors include: American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Ninth Circuit (2002); San Diego County Bar Association Jurist of the Year Award (2002); Honoree, San Diego Defense Lawyers (1995); Chairman’s Award (renamed A. Sherman Christensen Award), American
Inns of Court (1987); Award for Extraordinary Service to the Legal Profession, Municipal Court, San Diego Judicial District (1971); and Award of Honor, San Diego County Bar Association (1970). In addition, two awards are named in his honor: the California Inns of Court’s “William B. Enright Award for Professionalism” and the American Inns of Court’s “William B. Enright Ethics and Civility Award.”
Excellence in the Practice of Law
Vickie E. Turner, Esq.
Vickie E. Turner is a partner at Wilson Turner Kosmo (WTK) one of the largest Certified Women Owned law firms in Southern California. She has 38 years of experience in complex litigation matters filed against corporations, with extensive emphasis in the areas of product liability, warranty, general business litigation and class actions. Ms. Turner has successfully defended manufacturers, distributors and retailers in complex product liability claims throughout California, and in 12 other western states. She has been named one of San Diego’s top product liability defense attorneys by San Diego Super Lawyers ® each year from 2007-2020, selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America ® each year from 2010-2020 in the area of product liability, and named the Best Lawyers’ 2012 and 2018 San Diego Product Liability Litigation— Defendants Lawyer of the Year.
Ms. Turner completed her J.D. at the University of San Diego School of Law. While attending USD she was a member of Law Review and a recipient of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy. In 2009, she was awarded the law school’s highest honor, the Distinguished Alumni Award. She was also honored by USD with the 2018 Arthur C. Hughes Career Achievement Award.
Throughout her career Ms. Turner has received numerous awards and honors including 2015 Woman of the Year for the 79th State Assembly District, Woman of Dedication from the Salvation Army, Outstanding Trial Lawyer Award, and Outstanding Service to the Legal Profession Award presented by the San Diego County Bar Association.
In addition to her professional achievements, Ms. Turner has served as a Board member for many civic and professional organizations, including UCSD Chancellor’s Community Advisory Board, and USD School of Law Board of Visitors. She founded and is President of The Turner Dream Foundation which empowers diverse students through educational and leadership opportunities. She also founded the San Diego Links to STEM Program providing training in science, technology, engineering, and math, with an emphasis on robotics, to fourth through eighth grade diverse students. She is a member of the National Bar Institute Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the National Bar Association Commercial Law Section. She is a past President of the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association and Lawyers Club. She is most proud of the outstanding three sons that she and her late husband George raised and her 4 grandchildren.
Excellence in Public Service
Gregory E. Knoll, Esq.
Gregory Knoll has served as the CEO/Executive Director/Chief Counsel for Legal Aid Society of San Diego, Inc. since 1974. As the Chief Executive Officer of this non-profit law firm, he has complete responsibility for the administration, management, and supervision of the legal work performed by a 135-person staff, including 60 lawyers and 45 paralegals/advocates. The law firm provides a wide-range of free legal services to the indigent residents of San Diego County.
Mr. Knoll is also CEO of Legal Aid Society’s Consumer Center for Health Education and Advocacy, one of the first comprehensive education and advocacy centers for physical and mental health consumers eligible to receive healthcare from federal, state, and county programs. The Consumer Center opened in May of 1999 as a result of Mr. Knoll’s efforts in establishing the Health Consumer Alliance, a collaborative effort of nine California legal services programs, the Western Center on Law & Poverty, and the National Health Law Program.
In addition to serving as both member and as chair of various San Diego County boards, commissions, task forces, and stakeholder groups concerned with healthcare reform, Mr. Knoll is the long time Chair of the Oversight Committee for the San Diego County Geographic Managed Care Medi-Cal Program known locally as “Healthy San Diego”. Mr. Knoll is the Vice Chair of San Diegans for Health Care Coverage.
While Mr. Knoll currently specializes in health policy and systemic change and guest lectures on these and other topics at various universities and medical schools, he also has extensive litigation experience and has been the recipient of the Loren Miller Attorney of the Year Award from the NAACP, the San Diego County Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major for Justice Award and the Cesar E. Chavez Social Justice Award.
Mr. Knoll was selected as the Outstanding Attorney of the Year by the San Diego County Bar Association for 2013.
Mr. Knoll is a graduate of Rutgers University School of Law in Newark, New Jersey.
Excellence in Legal Education
Lilys D. McCoy, Esq.
Attorney Lilys D. McCoy is a Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Diego where she represents the City of San Diego and its various departments in civil municipal claims. Ms. McCoy received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at San Diego in June 1987 with Department Honors in Political Science with Distinction. She was graduated from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law in May 1991 and was admitted to the California State Bar in December 1991.
For 20 years, Ms. McCoy practiced almost exclusively in the area of civil litigation, with a focus on consumer protection cases. After private practice, Ms. McCoy joined the staff of Thomas Jefferson School of Law to pursue a passion for legal education. At Thomas Jefferson School of Law, she served as the founding director of the Center for Solo Practitioners, a lawyer accelerator program for alumni who wish to start solo practices that focus on access-to-justice and community service. In her capacity as director, she worked to increase the provision of legal services to under-served populations, spoke to national audiences about building lawyer incubator programs, and coordinated weekly community law clinics. In addition, she served as the Director of TJSL’s Epsten, Grinnell & Howell, APC National Trial Team. In that role, she brought on talented trial attorneys to teach and coach a carefully selected group of students for competition in national, regional, and invitational mock trial tournaments. The TJSL National Trial Team experienced several successes under Ms. McCoy’s leadership, including winning the Texas Young Lawyers Association Regional Championship in 2013 and 2018, advancing to the Semi-Finals and the Quarterfinals of the National Trial Competition in 2013 and 2018, winning the award for Most Professional Team at the 2014 Pacific McGeorge National Ethics Trial Competition, and advancing in other major regional tournaments.
Ms. McCoy also participates in a number of local and state bar organizations. She is currently serving as the Immediate Past President of the San Diego County Bar Association. Previously, she served as Chair of the Conference of California Bar Associations from 2009 to 2010, president of Lawyers Club of San Diego from 2002-2003, and Co-President of the Tom Homann LGBT Law Association from 2005-2007. She has been named a Super Lawyer, a Top Attorney in the San Diego Daily Transcript, and a Woman of Achievement by California Women Lawyers. Ms. McCoy has an AV Preeminent Rating™ from Martindale-Hubbell.