Sullivan awarded Inaugural Extradorinary Service Honor

Former Ambassador to Ireland and Wyoming Governor Mike Sullivan. Wyoming Bar Association photo

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming State Bar has announced that former Governor and Casper attorney Michael J. Sullivan is the recipient of the Bar’s inaugural John M. Burman Extraordinary Service Award. The award was presented at this year’s Annual Meeting and Judicial Conference last week in Jackson, Wyoming.

The John M. Burman Extraordinary Service Award is given in memory of Professor Burman, who died in February 2019, and who is remembered as a recognized expert in the field of legal and judicial ethics, codes of conduct for lawyers and judges, and professional responsibility. Burman was a prolific writer in these areas of the law, as well as in the law of children and families, the child welfare system, and the juvenile justice system.

The award was presented by Stephen D. Easton, the William T. Schwartz Professor of Law at the University of Wyoming College of Law. The nomination came from Susie McMurry, Casper resident and philanthropist.

“Michael Sullivan’s heart sparkles through his eyes,” said McMurry. “We are blessed to have him in our lives, community and state. He is a Christian man with such personality, wit and intellectual gifts that he uses to make us each feel valued, special and remembered.” 

Mike Sullivan grew up in Douglas and attended the University of Wyoming, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in petroleum engineering and a Juris Doctorate from the College of Law. Upon graduating from law school in 1964, Sullivan moved to Casper where he spent the next 22 years establishing a reputation as a top-notch litigator with the firm of Brown, Drew, Apostolos, Massey & Sullivan. In 1986, Sullivan was elected the 29th Governor of Wyoming. After two terms as Governor, he returned to Casper to practice law. He held a one-year fellowship at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. In 1998, Sullivan accepted President Clinton’s appointment as the 24th United States Ambassador to Ireland. Mike’s easy smile, his trademark Stetson and his ability to build relationships were keys to the progress he made in stabilizing the Good Friday Agreement during his tenure as Ambassador.

Sullivan chaired the Western Governors’ Association and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. He served on the National Governors’ Association’s Executive Board, directing its National Resources Committee. He is the recipient of the Wyoming Heritage Society’s Award of Merit, the Wyoming National Guard’s Distinguished Service Medal, and has been honored as Outstanding Alumnus by both the University of Wyoming and the University of Wyoming College of Law. He was named the 2016 Citizen of the West at the Western National Stock Show. Sullivan has always given tirelessly to his community. His list of board memberships includes charities, banks, hospitals, museums and corporations.

Criteria for the John M. Burman Extraordinary Service Aware are extensive. Recipients must demonstrate a history of extraordinary service to Wyoming lawyers, the Wyoming State Bar, the University of Wyoming College of Law, the Wyoming judiciary, the citizens of Wyoming and the international community. Like Professor Burman, they must be recognized by their peers as exemplifying legal ethics and professional responsibility.