ABOUT CHESTER BEDELL
Chester Bedell, all seem to agree, was a special presence in the courtrooms of Florida during the middle five decades of the twentieth century. Perhaps it was sheer ability that so distinguished this man. Perhaps it was courage, moral fiber. Perhaps it was unswerving loyalty to clients, his abiding respect for courts of justice. Lawyers who remember Chester Bedell do so because he stirred in us our own sense of history, of duty, indeed of destiny.
Characteristically self-effacing, Chester Bedell rarely spoke publicly outside the courtroom. But when he did he said: “I really have only one speech. When I have an opportunity to speak to a group of lawyers, I find that I inevitably say during the course of my talk that the preservation of the independence of the Bar is essential to the preservation of our freedom.”
Consider the words carefully. “The preservation of the independence of the Bar is essential to the preservation of our freedom.” To help preserve that independent Bar, and to extend that sense of history, duty and destiny which we associate with this consummate lawyer, The Chester Bedell Memorial Foundation was created by a declaration of Trust of The Jacksonville Bar Association.
Through this independent Foundation, the Association said, it would “seek to recognize and encourage lawyers who are committed to public service, improvement of the administration of justice, and to the advancement of the art and science of jurisprudence.”
The Foundation’s Trustees are directed to seek donations and make grants and awards to the following ends, locally and within the Bar at large:
- To encourage and recognize outstanding contributions in inculcating in the members of The Jacksonville Bar Association the principles of duty and service to the public.
- To encourage and recognize significant contributions to improving the administration of justice.
- To encourage and recognize substantial contributions to the advancement of the art and science of jurisprudence.