Congratulations Bill Oberly, Recipient of the 2023 Benjamin Walters Distinguished Service Award!

Former Executive Director of the Alaska Innocence Project, Bill Oberly was honored for his outstanding public service.

Anchorage Bar Board Member Professor Ryan Fortson presented Mr. Oberly with the Benjamin Walters Distinguished Service Award at the Anchorage Bar Association Annual Membership Meeting on Thursday, December 14, 2023.

Mr. Oberly was the heart and soul of the Alaska Innocence Project for more then 15 years handling case work, education and legal reform. Prior to working for the Project, Mr. Oberly was a solo practitioner for eighteen years, with a general civil and criminal defense practice, representing clients throughout the State of Alaska. He is probably best known for his work on the Fairbanks Four exoneration. 


The Anchorage Bar Association has given an Outstanding Service Award for many years now.  In 2006 we renamed the award the Benjamin Walters Distinguished Service Award in honor of a longtime Board member and friend who passed away that year.  Ben was always willing to give many hours to the community in the legal arena as well as simply giving of his time and effort to community activities in general.  Whether it was Boy Scouts or the Rotary Club or the Anchorage Bar Association or people in the local community needing pro bono legal advice, Ben always gave selflessly of himself to help others.  It is in that spirit that the Anchorage Bar honors someone who exemplifies these same qualities and in doing so we honor Ben’s memory.