Capt. Lia Reynolds, commanding officer of Region Legal Service Office (RLSO) Hawaii, received the 2019 Burton Award for Public Service in the Military at an awards ceremony at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. on May 20.
The Burton Awards, in association with the Library of Congress and sponsored by the American Bar Association and Law360, honors the finest accomplishments in law, including the finest writing, teaching, journalism, public service in government, public interest work, general counsel efforts and achievements of lawyers in the military.
The 20th annual awards ceremony featured a conversation with the Honorable John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice of the United States and a performance by Tony Award winner Idina Menzel. During her more than 20-year career as a Navy judge advocate, Reynolds has performed brilliantly in the most dynamic environments at sea, across Europe, the Pacific and the Middle East. She has proven both her ability to advise the most senior military leadership and her ability to continuously develop her subordinates towards personal success. Twice, Reynolds has led legal services offices that provided legal advice to Sailors and their families.
"Helping these Sailors resolve their personal legal issues relieve unnecessary stress and allow them to concentrate more fully on their assigned missions," said Reynolds.
As commanding officer of RLSO Hawaii, Reynolds encouraged her team to partner with the University of Hawaii Law School and the Hawaii judiciary to utilize existing local rules that would ultimately allow law students to serve as agents for service members in court. This innovative collaboration has benefitted her Sailors and the law students. As commanding officer of Naval Legal Service Office Europe, Africa and Southwest Asia headquartered in Naples, Italy, Reynolds’ legal services attorneys provided critical support for U.S. personnel who were forward deployed in the high operational tempo area of Bahrain. Their amazing efforts and achievements were recognized by the American Bar Association with the 2011 ABA Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel Award. Reynolds has served as chief legal advisor to an array of senior executives within the U.S. Navy.
In her sea and operational tours, Reynolds advised Commander, U.S. Third Fleet in San Diego, Commander, U.S. Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, Commander, Carrier Strike Group Eleven and Commanding Officer, USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). In these roles, Reynolds skillfully communicated U.S. policy, rules of engagement and legal requirements to both executives and employees. These “employees” include captains of U.S. warships and pilots flying missions over Iraq and Afghanistan. In these dynamic environments, Reynolds translated large amounts of complicated laws, rules and regulations into a succinct and focused direction for operators. Reynolds' character, leadership, diverse experience and remarkable legal mind make her one of the Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps best officers.