John Craft, Clinical Associate Professor of Law at Faulkner Law, was awarded the 2022 Public Interest Attorney Award at the Alabama State Bar’s 145th Annual Meeting on June 25 at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort and Spa in Miramar Beach, Florida. Craft was presented the award by the Alabama State Bar Volunteer Lawyers Program for his pro bono efforts in the area of elder law.
Craft, who serves as the Elder Law Clinic Director at Faulkner Law, joined the law school faculty in 2010. He teaches and supervises the Elder Law Clinic and the Externship program, and teaches Interviewing, Counseling and Negotiation. Prior to joining the faculty, Craft practiced law in Montgomery. He represented senior citizens and their families on elder law matters, including estate planning, probate, Medicaid, veterans’ benefits, and nursing home litigation.
At the Alabama State Bar’s annual meeting, Craft was celebrated for his years of pro bono work in the community and his impact on the legal profession.
While teaching future legal minds the law and fundamentals regarding hot topics in elder law, Craft started the Elder Law Clinic at Jones School of Law. During the Elder Law Clinic, his students provide pro bono legal services for Montgomery area seniors: preparing basic wills, living wills, and powers of attorney; providing representation during guardianship and conservatorship proceedings; assisting victims of elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation. This clinic has served thousands in the Montgomery area.
Craft has served as chair of the Elder Law Section of the Alabama State Bar and provided countless hours to train lawyers and judges throughout Alabama. His efforts improved elder law and policy, but more importantly, increased access to pro bono services.
“John Craft is very deserving of this award,” Alabama State Bar Executive Director Terri Lovell, a Faulkner Law alumna, said. “Not only have we all benefited from his contributions to improve elder law, but the public has benefited from his pro bono services.”
Craft received his B.A. degree from Auburn University and graduated cum laude from Jones School of Law. Professor Craft is overall director of the law school’s experiential clinical and field placement programs. He has presented at more than 30 continuing education conferences and seminars for attorneys and judges.
He is a member of the Alabama Interagency Council for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, where he was the inaugural chair of its Legislative Advocacy Committee. During his tenure, he led the drafting and eventual passage of two Alabama statutes: the Protecting Alabama’s Elders Act, providing specific criminal penalties for elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation; and the Elder Abuse Protection Order and Enforcement Act, providing civil restraining orders for victims of elder abuse.
Craft chaired the WINGS (Working Interdisciplinary Networks of Guardianship Stakeholders) Task Force in Alabama from 2017–2020. WINGS was established to improve the state’s guardianship and conservatorship system, avoid unnecessary guardianship, promote less-restrictive alternatives to guardianship, and prevent and address abuse. In 2021, he was appointed to the Alabama Supreme Court Commission on Adult Guardianships and Conservatorships, which continues the work of WINGS to improve the state’s guardianship system.