On July 12, 2017, Chief Magistrate Judge John Ott of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama received the prestigious Judicial Award of Merit at the Joint Bench and Bar Symposium Breakfast held at the Alabama State Bar Annual Meeting in Point Clear, Alabama.
On July 15, 2017, Chief Magistrate Judge Ott will again be recognized as the Judicial Award of Merit Winner at the Annual Meeting's Grand Convocation.
"I am deeply honored to receive the award," he said. "To be recognized by the Alabama legal community for my work is very special."
Established in 1987, the Judicial Award of Merit is presented to a state or federal court judge who is not retired and who has contributed significantly to the administration of justice in Alabama. The award is not presented annually, only in those years where the Alabama State Bar believes a judge merits the honor.
Birmingham attorney Rhonda Chambers, Co-Chair of the Birmingham Bar Association Civil Courts Committee, was instrumental in his nomination for the award. "To me, Judge Ott epitomizes what the award is all about," she said. "He is most deserving of the recognition."
As the award recipient, Chief Magistrate Judge Ott receives a crystal gavel bearing the Alabama State Bar seal and the year of presentation.
Chief Magistrate Judge Ott was appointed to United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama in 1998. He has presided as a trial judge in more than 60 cases in a variety of subject areas, including employment discrimination, civil rights, contract disputes, antitrust, negligence and federal misdemeanor cases. He has also served as a settlement judge or mediator in more than 700 cases in nearly every type of federal litigation.
Prior to his appointment, Chief Magistrate Judge Ott served as an assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of Alabama for 15 years. He began as a prosecutor in the criminal division of the office and held the positions of deputy chief and chief of the criminal division and executive assistant United States Attorney with oversight responsibility for litigation.
Chief Magistrate Judge Ott serves on the adjunct faculty at Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law teaching trial advocacy. He has also been an adjunct faculty member at The University of Alabama at Birmingham and Miles School of Law teaching courses in trial techniques and advocacy, criminal evidence, e-discovery and social media, and negotiation and mediation. He is a frequent writer and presenter at continuing education courses for attorneys on attorney ethics and professionalism, trial advocacy, evidence, mediation and employment law.
In 1977, Chief Magistrate Judge Ott earned his B.A. degree in criminal justice magna cum laude from the University of Central Florida and his J.D. degree from the Cumberland School of Law in 1981. He is a member of the Alabama, Florida and Birmingham bars. He is also a fellow of the Alabama Law Foundation and the Birmingham Bar Foundation.