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American Bar Association

ABA Pro Bono Publico Award - Past Recipients

PAST RECIPIENTS

2013

Frank H. Wu, Keynote Speaker



Frank H. Wu

Frank H. Wu is in his third year of service as Chancellor & Dean of University of California Hastings College of Law. He was a member of the faculty at Howard University, the nation's leading historically black college/university, for a decade.

He is the author of Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White, which was immediately reprinted in its hardcover edition, and co-author of Race, Rights and Reparation: Law and the Japanese American Internment, which received a major grant from the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund.

Prior to his academic career, he held a clerkship with the late U.S. District Judge Frank J. Battisti in Cleveland and practiced law with the firm of Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco - while there, he devoted a quarter of his time to pro bono work on behalf of indigent clients. He received a B.A. from the Johns Hopkins University and a J.D. from the University of Michigan.


2012

The ABA Pro Bono Publico Award is presented each year by the Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service to honor individual lawyers, law firms, law schools, government attorney offices, corporate law departments and other institutions in the legal profession that have enhanced the human dignity of others by improving or delivering volunteer legal services to the poor.

On August 6, 2012, the five recipients of the ABA Pro Bono Publico Award were honored at the Pro Bono Publico Awards Assembly Luncheon held during the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago. Highlighted below, is how this year's recipients became involved in pro bono and the contributions they have made to serve the poor.

We thank the major sponsors for the Pro Bono Publico Awards Luncheon

2012 ABA Pro Bono Publico Awards Luncheon Photos

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Guest Speaker at the Pro Bono Publico Awards Assembly Luncheon:
The Honorable Cruz Reynoso


The Honorable Cruz Reynoso

Currently Professor of Law Emeritus at UC Davis, and a former Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court, Reynoso is recognized for his leadership in civil rights, immigration and refugee policy, government reform, the administration of justice, legal services for the indigent, and education. Reynoso has served as Vice Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, as well as a member of the Select Commission on Immigration and Human Rights.In 2000, President Bill Clinton honored Reynoso with a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor, for his lifelong devotion to public service.

An Interview with Justice Cruz Reynoso by Keith Roberts (Judges' Journal Vol. 51, No. 3, Summer 2012)


The 2012 Recipients Of The ABA Pro Bono Publico Award

Neal E. Minahan

Amy Lorenz-Moser

Howard Goffen

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, Fourth Department


2012 ABA Pro Bono Publico Award Recipients

Neal E. Minahan



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Neal E Minahan

In only eight years of practice, Neal E. Minahan has accomplished an extraordinary amount of pro bono for a young lawyer. In particular, Minahan has devoted over 2,500 hours of pro bono hours to a series of landmark civil rights cases affecting institutionalized people in Massachusetts. His successful pro bono representations have resulted in broad institutional reforms and have set important precedent for the rights of incarcerated people.

Minahan's pro bono cases have included his fighting for the religious rights of Muslim inmates serving life sentences to securing medical care for a transgender person who was civilly committed as a sex offender. As with many prison cases, his clients' pro se complaints languished for years before they found pro bono representation. In each case, Minahan was able to secure his clients' rights despite fierce opposition and the unpopularity of the cause. One of Minahan's landmark cases spanned half a decade and sparked statewide prison reform. The case involved two Muslim inmates who had filed a pro-se complaint to secure their right to daily Halal meals (meals that meet the dietary requirements of Islam). At the end of trial, the Court issued a decision requiring the Massachusetts Department of Corrections (DOC) to provide Minahan's clients with Halal meals and access to religious services. The ruling led to the DOC revisiting its religious policies and providing Halal meals and religious services to Muslim inmates on a system-wide basis.

Minahan also represented a civilly committed, transgender inmate in her suit to secure prescribed medical treatment for her Gender Identity Disorder. This case was wildly unpopular due to the nature of the treatment and the plaintiff's underlying criminal offense. After years of litigation with complex constitutional issues, Minahan was able to obtain access to treatment for his client. The decision was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit where it was a case of first impression; the case significantly advanced the rights of transgender people and those seeking medical care while incarcerated.

Aside from his pro bono representation of disenfranchised populations, Minahan serves as President and Chair of the Board of BAGLY, Inc., a 30 year old nonprofit organization promoting educational, social and leadership opportunities for LGBT youth in Massachusetts, as well as spearheading state and national advocacy around LGBT youth issues.

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Amy Lorenz-Moser



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Amy Lorenz-Moser

Amy Lorenz-Moser has been a tireless and extremely effective advocate for victims of domestic violence for most of her adult life. Her advocacy began in college when she tried to assist a cafeteria worker who she observed being beaten by her abuser. She became a legal advocate when she entered law school at the University of Missouri in Columbia and enrolled in the Domestic Violence Clinic. The Clinic was involved with the Missouri Battered Women's Clemency Project, a collaborative effort of a wide range of organizations. The Clemency Project was working to obtain clemency for 11 battered women and, as a law student, Lorenz-Moser represented one of these women. Her client was granted clemency by the Governor.

The Clemency Project arose out of injustices that occurred in domestic violence influenced murder convictions. Most of these women received sentences of life without the possibility of parole for 50 years. Through the efforts of Lorenz-Moser and others in the Clemency Project, several women obtained their freedom through pardon, parole, or clemency.

Following the passage of legislation that allowed juries to consider battering as a self-defense claim, Lorenz-Moser took on the task of coordinating the clemency effort, through the Clinic at St. Louis University's School of Law. Unfortunately, time and again the Parole Board refused to consider the domestic violence, or wrongfully considered the seriousness of the crime, and refused to grant parole to clients of the Clemency Project. Lorenz-Moser was forced to seek Writs of Mandamus requiring the Parole Board to apply the statute and release her clients. On the third attempt, and after three parole hearings each, the women were finally released. Lorenz-Moser did not stop there. She is now representing two other women who faced unspeakable abuse, feared for their lives, and murdered their abusive husbands. For one of these women, she is garnering public support for clemency through a video explicating the horrendous abuse and the woman's lack of options.

Lorenz-Moser has conducted her advocacy for these women pro bono (often covering the court costs), while simultaneously carrying a demanding private practice caseload and raising a family. She epitomizes the best a lawyer can be - zealously representing those who have few resources and have faced terrible injustice in their lives, and assisting them in finally finding some justice.

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Howard Goffen



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Howard Goffen

LAF, (Legal Assistance Foundation), the largest provider of free legal services to low-income individuals in the Chicago area, refers to Howard Goffen as its most committed, talented, dedicated and selfless pro bono volunteer. Goffen became a pro bono attorney with LAF in 2005 after an illustrious 40 plus year career in the private sector. Over the last seven years, Goffen has given more than 7,000 hours of pro bono legal services to individuals and families from across the Chicago region through his work with LAF. Each week Goffen spends between 20-30 hours working with LAF clients and staff, all of it uncompensated. Goffen essentially functions as an unpaid part-time staff attorney. He has also provided countless mentorship and professional development opportunities for LAF staff.

Goffen increases LAF's capacity to provide quality representation and legal services to Chicago's neediest individuals. He has been primary counsel or co-counseled more than 120 cases with LAF, many of them complicated and time-intensive consumer matters. He has also reached countless numbers of other clients either through the intake process, or by providing advice and brief services.

Recently, LAF underwent a strategic multiyear reorganization. As a result, Goffen is now assigned to the Consumer Practice Group in an office farther from home. Goffen continues to work as he always did, functioning as an unpaid staff attorney. He attends meetings, trainings, task force meetings and maintains a full-caseload. Goffen also agreed to learn bankruptcy law even though he had very little familiarity with it in his prior practice, because of the great need for bankruptcy attorneys. Since the time of his training, Goffen has filed over 40 bankruptcies. Goffen treats each client with whom he works with dignity and respect. He speaks to his clients as partners in solving their legal problem, and with an eye toward empowering them with the tools necessary to avoid consumer fraud and personal debt in the future. The only complaint that LAF has about Goffen is that "there is only one of him." He is described as the embodiment of a model pro bono attorney.

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Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP



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In 2011, Akin Gump's lawyers, advisers, paralegals and summer associates devoted more than 67,000 hours to the firm's pro bono clients, spread among 815 active pro bono matters. On average, lawyers in the firm's U.S. offices worked 84 hours for pro bono clients in 2011. While the firm's pro bono practice spans many different areas, from representing charter schools and other nonprofit entities to counseling international development organizations, its primary focus is on low-income individuals, both in traditional poverty law matters and in immigration. The firm has shown extraordinary dedication to the most vulnerable members of society, improving its pro bono commitment from 38 hours per U.S. attorney in 2006 to more than 80 hours per U.S. attorney in each of the past four years, with a substantial pro bono practice in each U.S. office. Walmart's legal department has worked closely with Akin Gump over the past two years to develop the first corporate counsel medical-legal partnership (MLP) in the United States. Akin Gump not only helped Walmart structure its in-house pro bono program, but also identified legal services partners and trained Walmart lawyers to serve pediatric patients and their families at Arkansas Children's Hospital. Akin Gump did not limit itself to helping Walmart develop the MLP at Arkansas Children's Hospital. The firm also used what it learned through this experience to develop MLP programs in its New York and Dallas offices.

The firm's marquee pro bono practice is in immigration, working with legal services providers such as the Tahirih Justice Center (DC/Houston), American Gateways (Austin), Human Rights First (NY/DC), Human Rights Initiative (Dallas), Immigration Equality (NY) and the Scholar Rescue Fund (NY). The firm's immigration practice focuses on Violence Against Women Act petitions and asylum. The firm is particularly known for taking on difficult asylum cases, including representing individuals potentially barred from asylum for allegedly providing material support for terrorism. In recognition of the firm's efforts, each of the above organizations has honored Akin Gump for its commitment to refugees in the past three years. Several of Akin Gump's pro bono efforts have expanded legal services to help underserved communities. The firm's work has allowed life-changing organizations such as the KIPP charter schools to obtain valuable legal counsel on a wide range of complex issues and has provided help to members of the U.S. armed forces, who are typically unable to access traditional legal services. Akin Gump has provided more than 13,500 hours of free legal services to KIPP, and through its amazing efforts, has helped to ensure that all children, particularly those from disadvantaged communities, gain access to high quality community schools.

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Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, Fourth Department



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Judicial promotion and support of pro bono can lead to greater access to the court system and a willingness of more attorneys to involve themselves in pro bono. In a time when many judges feel constrained by an erroneous assumption that ethics rules prevent them or their employees from becoming involved in pro bono, the Appellate Division's Fourth Department has set a new model of pro bono engagement. In 2009, the judges of the Fourth Department, under the leadership of Presiding Justice Henry J. Scudder, established the Fourth Department's Policy Statement on Pro Bono Legal and Volunteer Services, the first pro bono policy for appellate court attorneys and staff in New York State. The policy encourages appellate court attorneys to set a personal goal of at least 20 hours of pro bono service per year, in accordance with Rule 6.1 of the New York State Rules of Professional Conduct.

Since the time the policy was implemented, Appellate Department, Fourth Division Court attorneys have provided pro bono service to over 200 low income clients through Volunteer Legal Services Project's (VLSP) Family Law Clinic, Pro Se Divorce Clinic, Alternatives for Battered Women Clinic, Wills Clinic, and Consumer Law Hotline. Court attorneys have also accepted full case referrals in employment insurance benefit denials and wills for seriously ill clients.

The justices of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department timed the implementation of the new pro bono policy with the ABA's first National Celebration of Pro Bono in October 2009. That year, and each year subsequently, the court's judges and lawyers have participated in various ways in this annual event.

The dedication demonstrated by the Appellate Division, Fourth Department attorneys is all the more impressive because they are government attorneys. In general, recruitment of government attorneys is difficult because there is a prevailing attitude that government attorneys cannot do pro bono. Appellate court attorneys are extremely busy. There is no doubt that volunteering at VLSP clinics and accepting pro bono cases pose challenges. However, the Appellate Division, Fourth Division Department Attorneys make pro bono a priority.

In addition to developing and implementing New York State's first pro bono policy for appellate court attorneys, Justice Scudder promoted innovative approaches to pro bono delivery by working with the local county attorney to develop a pro bono policy for Monroe County attorneys. In addition, Justice Scudder, as well as senior members of the Court's staff, readily accept offers to serve as ethics CLE presenters, despite the demands of their schedules. For these reasons, in 2011 the New York State Bar Association presented its prestigious President's Pro Bono Service Award to Presiding Justice Henry J. Scudder and the attorneys and staff of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department.

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2011

The ABA Pro Bono Publico Award is presented each year by the Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service to honor individual lawyers, law firms, law schools, government attorney offices, corporate law departments and other institutions in the legal profession that have enhanced the human dignity of others by improving or delivering volunteer legal services to the poor.

The recipients of the 2011 ABA Pro Bono Publico Award were honored on August 8, 2011 at the Pro Bono Publico Awards Assembly Luncheon during the ABA Annual Meeting in Toronto, Canada. We thank our sponsors.

Ambassador David Jacobson

Ambassador David Jacobson

More information on David Jacobson
David Jacobson, the United States Ambassador to Canada. was the Keynote Speaker.

The 2011 Recipients Of The ABA Pro Bono Publico Award

Elena Park

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Henry Callaway, III

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Honorable Jay Zainey

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O'Melveny & Myers LLP

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Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison

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Kathleen Hopkins


Elena Park
Cozen O'Connor
West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania


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For nearly ten years, Elena Park has provided pro bono legal counsel and representation to the indigent on complex immigration matters including work authorization, visa processing, asylum, cancellation of deportation, paths to legalization and raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. She regularly devotes over 200 hours of pro bono time a year to her pro bono immigration practice. As an active member of her firm's Pro Bono Committee and program, she has worked with Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), the Philadelphia Bar Association's Volunteers for the Indigent Project (VIP), and the ACLU.

Park has been driven by the desire to assist the arguably most impoverished, most needy, and least accepted segment of our population -- undocumented aliens. Her fight has been not only to assist in securing legal status in the United States, but also to help develop and support the immigration rights advocacy infrastructure in her community. To that end, she has volunteered a considerable amount of time teaching, educating, mentoring, lobbying and supporting pro bono agencies that help indigent clients on immigration matters.

Park has managed to obtain legal status for clients in extremely difficult cases that no one else was willing to take on. Her efforts have been recognized by the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation (Pro Bono Award 2011), Pennsylvania Bar Association (Pro Bono Award 2007 and 2010, Contribution to the Legal Community 2010) and the media (Legal Intelligencer 2007, Thomas Reuters Dec 2008). She traces her devotion to helping the indigent in immigration matters from her own personal background. A child of Korean immigrants, her parents came to this country with virtually nothing and struggled to make ends meet. Nevertheless, they instilled in her a strong work ethic, a drive for professional excellence, and the desire to help those in need. Park takes great personal and professional satisfaction in helping the needy from around the world achieve the American dream.

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Henry Callaway, III
Hand Arendall LLC
Mobile, Alabama


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In 1989, Henry Callaway was appointed to the Mobile Bar Association's (MBA) Pro Bono Committee. In 1996, he became its president, a post he would hold for seven of the next twelve years. During that time period, he transformed the Mobile Volunteer Lawyer's Project (MVLP). In 1995, the program had 325 participating attorneys; by 2007, the figure had soared above 600. The number of cases referred out to attorneys for action also more than doubled, to 800.

In growing the MVLP, Callaway developed several innovative strategies to raise money and increase visibility. First, he spearheaded the MVLP's change from a committee of the MBA to a 501(c)(3) corporation. He then oversaw the development of a more structured annual private bar campaign touting the tax advantages of giving as well as the needs of the organization and the population it serves. He presided over the MVLP's successful application to become a United Way member agency, which generated tens of thousands of dollars of additional revenue.

Callaway persuaded his firm -- Mobile's largest -- to achieve and maintain 100% participation on the MVLP panel. He developed an intentional and sustained media campaign to promote the MVLP. He also oversaw the creation of a promotional DVD, wrote copy for television and radio public service announcements, and drove around the county identifying promising billboard sites to advertise MVLP services. He also created posters for buses, social service agencies and public schools.

On the state level, Callaway spearheaded the development of user-friendly forms for unrepresented citizens in many areas of the law such as family law and consumer matters. He heads a state bar committee which is working to revise Alabama's court rules to allow lawyers to represent low- and middle-income clients on a limited scope, low-fee basis. Callaway also worked with Birmingham's bar leaders to help that city revitalize its volunteer lawyers program and currently chairs the state's Access to Justice Commission. As a result of the depth and breadth of his work, Callaway was named Alabama's 2010 volunteer lawyer of the year.

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The Honorable Jay Zainey


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In 2004, U.S. District Court Judge Jay Zainey founded H.E.L.P. (Homeless Experience Legal Protection) to provide pro bono legal services to the homeless community in New Orleans. Working with a local shelter, H.E.L.P. establishes a regularly scheduled clinic to offer free legal services to homeless individuals, provided by volunteer attorneys from firms around the city. As a result of the first program's success, and the commitment of Judge Zainey to promote the model, H.E.L.P. has since expanded to 19 other cities. Judge Zainey personally traveled to each city to start these programs, met with the staff of the homeless shelters and with the volunteer lawyers, and provided free CLE seminars to the volunteer lawyers so that they could be effective legal advocates.

As a result of the H.E.L.P. Program, hundreds of lawyers have volunteered their time and talents throughout the year on a weekly rotating basis at homeless shelters to serve the homeless. Over 450 attorneys currently participate in the program across the country. In addition to his legal advocacy efforts for the homeless, Judge Zainey drives around the city of New Orleans on a regular basis with an ice-chest full of cold bottled waters, fruit drinks and granola bars to track down homeless individuals in order to offer them refreshments or a bite to eat.

Judge Zainey has a strong commitment to pro bono. As President of the Louisiana Bar Association he directed his leadership towards the expansion of private attorney involvement in pro bono to support access to justice. Judge Zainey also created the first State Bar Association Committee in the nation to provide legal referral services for the disabled and created the Community Involvement Committee -- the first state bar association committee of its kind in the country. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his pro bono efforts and his work on behalf of the homeless. He currently is an officer of the Pro Bono Project of New Orleans.

Beyond his pro bono initiatives, Judge Zainey has initiated a number of initiatives in New Orleans geared toward improving the community. One project -- SOLACE -- is a program in which lawyers and other members of the legal community can actively reach out and assist each other in times of personal need or loss. He has also created social service programs to assist the less fortunate. According to Judge Zainey's son, he is a man who lives for others, not himself. He describes how on his father's desk is a taped hand-written note that reads "We are responsible to each other." Judge Zainey has spent his professional and personal life aspiring to this ideal.

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O'Melveny & Myers LLP


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Since the 1930s, O'Melveny has been at the forefront of a growing pro bono movement in Los Angeles. The firm was one of the first to charter a formal pro bono committee, and in 2006, launched its formal Pro Bono Initiative, solidifying the firm's commitment to pro bono. In 2010, attorneys at O'Melveny and Myers devoted more than 83,000 hours of legal representation to pro bono matters, averaging approximately 120 hours per lawyer. This represented approximately 6.7% of the firm's billable output and involved 75% of the firm's lawyers. In the past year, more than 61% of the firm's attorneys reported doing more than 20 hours of pro bono work. The firm also requires new attorneys to participate in at least one pro bono case in their first year at the firm.

The firm has worked with a large number of pro bono organizations on cases in a multitude of areas. The firm has represented food stamp applicants and recipients leading to a three-year Consent Decree establishing guidelines and deadlines with which Orange County, California Social Services Agency must comply. The firm has also worked with Bet Tzedek, trying to verdict the first case under a new California statue designed to protect victims of human trafficking. The firm's lawyers also assisted Bet Tzedek with obtaining the recovery of substantial reparations from the German government for thousands of Holocaust survivors.

O'Melveny has partnered with Harvard and UCLA Law Schools to provide clinics to students in the area of appellate practice for indigent clients. The firm has also worked on immigration cases for a number of organizations, and has written an extensive training manual to teach pro bono attorneys how to represent detained immigrants in bond hearings, enabling these clients to escape the uncertainty of indefinite detention and to rejoin their families. The firm has worked on cases to promote gay rights, to facilitate adoption proceedings, and to promote the civil rights of prisoners, as well as many other areas of law. The firm has devoted thousands of hours each year to local prosecutors' offices where budget constraints make it impossible for these offices to protect public safety concerns without assistance. O'Melveny also actively involves its corporate clients in participating in its important pro bono work.

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Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison


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Paul Weiss has a long history of pro bono work. In 2010, approximately 65% of Paul, Weiss's attorneys performed 54,984 hours of pro bono work, representing approximately 5.5% of the firm's total hours. The firm is one of only five firms that has been on the American Lawyer's A-List for pro bono work from the beginning. In 2010, the firm moved up the A-List significantly, to number six, largely due to a 50 percent increase in pro bono hours in 2009.

The scope of the firm's pro bono work is extensive. Since 2009, the firm has represented clients as part of the City Bar Justice Center of New York's Immigrant Women & Children Project. The firm has also represented immigrant victims of domestic violent crimes and individuals seeking refuge from persecution from their countries of origin.

Paul Weiss also has made a substantial commitment to achieve justice in other areas. For example, the firm, along with other partners, founded a series of Veterans' Legal Clinics in October 2007 to provide free legal advice to metropolitan area military veterans. Paul Weiss also partnered with the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama to provide post-conviction representation to those who have received capital sentences in Alabama. In addition, the firm has devoted significant legal resources to Human Rights First, the Brennan Center for Justice and other groups on important impact matters on such issues as voting rights, same-sex marriage and the right to appointed counsel.

In 2010 alone, the firm and its individual lawyers were honored by The Legal Aid Society of New York City, Immigration Equality, Sanctuary for Families, the New York State Bar Association, DC Appleseed and the City Bar Justice Center for the breadth and scope of its pro bono work.

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Kathleen Hopkins
Real Property Law Group PLLC
Seattle, Washington

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The Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service is pleased to present a special Pro Bono Award to Kathleen Hopkins in recognition of her longstanding service to the Pro Bono Committee and her efforts to expand pro bono across the country.

Attorney Hopkins has been passionate about her involvement with the Pro Bono Committee and about the value of the Committee's work to the legal profession and the ABA. She has served two terms on the Committee as a member and has subsequently found her way back to the Committee as a liaison from the Business Law Section, the ABA Board and, most recently, the General Practice, Small Firm and Solo Practice Division.

Champions are driven by something beyond the desire to win. Kathleen Hopkins is a "champion" of the Pro Bono Committee through her commitment and her steadfast support of the Committee's mission. She has been an advocate for the Committee as the center of pro bono activity within the ABA, finding ways to bring the Committee's expertise to enhance the pro bono work of a number of other ABA entities. Her vision, leadership and enthusiasm have resulted in the development of innovative projects and new ways of maximizing ABA resources. Some examples of the impact she has had include:
  • brokering a partnership between the Pro Bono Committee and the Business Law Section under which the Section's Business Law Pro Bono Project was housed under the auspices of the Committee;
  • actively promoting the Committee's National Celebration of Pro Bono within her state and local community, and working to develop Celebration partnerships;
  • promoting the Pro Bono Committee to the ABA Journal as a resource for stories relating to the public service of America's lawyers; and
  • leading an effort to connect the Pro Bono Committee, the Commission on Immigration and the Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) project with the GP Solo and Small Firm Division.

The Pro Bono Committee is honored to present this award to Attorney Hopkins for her longstanding, ongoing and deep commitment to pro bono legal services for the poor.


2010

Carolyn Lamm
2010 ABA Pro Bono Awards Luncheon
Keynote Remarks of Laurence Tribe
with ABA President 2009-2010 Carolyn Lamm Introduction
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Lan T. Nguyen, Shortt & Nguyen, Houston, TX

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David Reiser, Zuckerman Spaeder, LLP, Washington DC

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Sylvia Hardaway Walbolt, Carlton Fields, Tampa, FL

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Bryan Cave, LLP, St. Louis, MO

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Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, Boston, MA

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Lan T. Nguyen, Shortt & Nguyen, Houston, TX

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After immigrating to this country as a refugee from Vietnam in 1975, and enduring many hardships in that transition, including time in refugee camps and separation from her father who was imprisoned for 10 years in a re-education camp, Lan Nguyen attended college and then obtained both a JD and MBA from University of Houston. Since her admission to the Bar in Texas in 1984 she has made enormous contributions to the legal (and other) needs of low income individuals and families in the Houston area.

Nguyen donates hundreds of hours as a pro bono attorney each year, despite also maintaining a legal practice with her husband. She has been a driving force of the Houston Bar Association's outreach to the Asian American community and a committed volunteer through its Volunteer Lawyers Program. She mentors less experienced lawyers to help make them better able to assist their pro bono clients. She also set up a LegalLine program specifically for Vietnamese residents, co-founded an annual Asian Will-a-thon to provide estate planning documents to indigent Vietnamese, and coordinated a monthly Vietnamese Radio talk show to assist the community with their legal problems. She has translated legal handbooks into Vietnamese, set up legal clinics for the poor in the Asian community, and represented many individuals pro bono in their legal cases.

Nguyen has also done pro bono legal work through the Houston Area Women's Center and through AdvoCourt for Kids, a grant recipient of the ABA Child Custody Pro Bono Project, in which she acts as a children's advocate in divorce and custody proceedings. She has also served as a resource for its volunteer lawyers and for its board of directors.

Nguyen has been the recipient of many awards recognizing her unique pro bono contributions, including the 2007 Houston Bar Award for Outstanding Contribution to Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program by an Individual and the 2007 State of Texas Pro Bono and Legal Services Award. She has established a reputation for never turning down a pro bono case when asked to provide assistance.

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David Reiser, Zuckerman Spaeder, LLP, Washington DC

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David Reiser's commitment to ensuring equal and meaningful access to justice is manifested throughout his legal career. After graduating summa cum laude from Yale College, Reiser combined his study of law at Yale Law School with volunteer and leadership activities, including as Chair of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization and Director of the Danbury Prison Project.

Reiser has consistently shared his gifted legal mind to teach and mentor law students and young lawyers. In private practice and as a legal aid volunteer, Reiser continues to mentor young lawyers and assist volunteer lawyers in briefing and arguing appeals, by conducting moot courts and providing his expert guidance on the legal and human aspects of the issues in contention.

In 2004, Reiser was one of the founders of the Barbara McDowell Appellate Advocacy Project, a partnership between his law firm, Zuckerman Spaeder, and the D.C. Legal Aid Society. The Project's goal is to provide high quality appellate representation to indigent civil litigants principally in family, housing, consumer and public benefit cases. The effort has helped to shape the decisional law in the District of Columbia on issues of concern to poor communities, and has had far-reaching effects on the ability of the poor to obtain access to justice and fair legal outcomes. Reiser has devoted over 1000 hours to the Appellate Project himself, and has been involved in reviewing nearly every brief and preparing nearly every oral argument. Some of the cases include advocating for a woman who was convicted of parental kidnapping after she fled domestic violence and arguing in an en banc case for the right of tenants to use the fair housing laws as a defense to eviction.

Reiser's commitment to justice is evident throughout the course of his legal career, and he has received acknowledgment from the Bar and his peers for his efforts. In 2006 Reiser was awarded the Servant of Justice Award from the D.C. Legal Aid Society, for his dedication to and achievements in ensuring equal and meaningful access to justice, and his efforts to ensure the success of the Appellate Advocacy Project.

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Sylvia Hardaway Walbolt, Carlton Fields, Tampa, FL

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From her first days as a young associate at the Carlton Fields law firm until the present, Sylvia Walbolt has made pro bono a key component of her legal practice. Her pro bono work has ranged from assisting Florida prisoners attempting to prove their innocence through DNA testing, to advocating for prisoners who were subject to poor conditions of confinement in Florida's "Close Management" system, to helping a group of U.S. Holocaust survivors win a settlement against a Swiss Bank. Walbolt has also represented individuals in habeas proceedings and civil rights organizations to defend federal civil rights laws. The depth and breadth of her work is well known to the Florida justice community – so much so that she is frequently called upon by the United Stated Eleventh Circuit and the Florida Supreme Court in assisting with pro bono matters. Walbolt provides hundreds of hours of pro bono service per year.

In addition to her direct pro bono involvement, Walbolt is involved in organizations whose mission is to ensure equal access to justice and promote pro bono participation. She has chaired the American College of Trial Lawyers' Access to Justice Committee, in which she served as the catalyst within the College to implement a program encouraging experienced trial lawyers to take pro bono cases of pubic importance. She is also the former chair of the College's Florida Access to Justice and Legal Services Committee.

Walbolt has worked tirelessly to preserve funding for legal services programs in Florida. She has also been a strong advocate of pro bono within her firm, serving as the first chair of the firm's Pro Bono Committee. She mentors young lawyers about pro bono and urges every practice group to find opportunities to participate in pro bono activities.

For her 45 years of pro bono service, Walbolt has received numerous service awards including the 2009 Medal of Honor Award by The Florida Bar Foundation, the 2009 St. Petersburg Bar Foundation Heroes Among Us Service Award, and the 2008 Tobias Simon Pro Bono Service Award—an award given annually by the Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court to the one attorney in Florida who has given the most outstanding service in the area of pro bono.

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Bryan Cave, LLP, St. Louis, MO

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Bryan Cave attorneys are dedicated to providing pro bono service and ensuring that access to justice is a priority. The firm has a long history of commitment to pro bono efforts. Attorneys in the firm's U.S. offices spent nearly 47,000 hours in 2009 performing pro bono legal services. Bryan Cave provides pro bono legal services across a varied range of areas and approaches this work using creative strategies and teamwork. The firm has recently focused much of its pro bono efforts helping families and communities overcome considerable hardships and legal obstacles. Bryan Cave has handled cases that reunited families, revitalized neighborhoods and kept families in their homes.

Bryan Cave has also formed a unique pro bono relationship with Family Equality Council, a national nonprofit organization working to ensure equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) families. The firm's LGBT lawyers' affinity group chose to work with Family Equality Council after a year-long vetting process - trying to find an organization that is LGBT focused, non-partisan, humanitarian, has a national footprint and is need of pro bono legal services. The firm and the organization have partnered to undertake a comprehensive research survey of current federal laws affecting LGBT families. In addition, the Family Equality Council's public policy department will leverage the extraordinary gift of Bryan Cave's legal expertise and analysis to pursue opportunities for federal policy reform in this area.

Bryan Cave's pro bono policy is a model for firms nationwide. Initiated in 2006, the policy encourages attorney employees to build on the firm's tradition of pro bono work and community service. Bryan Cave gives full billable credit to attorneys for all pro bono hours, and has established a committee of partners and a group of local pro bono coordinators who are dedicated to developing new opportunities for pro bono work.

The local efforts to select important pro bono work have led to the firm's lawyers being involved in both routine and complicated cases. A recent example of the latter was the firm's success in securing the release of Joshua Charles Kezer, a prisoner who spent nearly half his life in jail for a murder he did not commit. Bryan Cave attorneys spent thousands of hours discovering new evidence and ultimately proving the man's innocence. Through the diligent efforts of Bryan Cave attorneys, Kezer's conviction was thrown out and he is able to restart his life as a free man.

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Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, Boston, MA

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On February 9, 2010, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed into law SB 2212, An Act Relative to Harassment Prevention Orders, a seminal legislative accomplishment extending the reach of restraining orders to protect victims of stalking, harassment and sexual assault from perpetrators beyond family members and romantic partners. SB 2212 likely would not have become law if not for the perseverance and expertise of the attorneys of Mintz Levin and the firm's pioneering and pre-eminent Domestic Violence Project, who dedicated hundreds of hours drafting legislation, negotiating with stakeholders and working diligently behind the scenes with the legislature to ensure passage.

The firm has a longstanding and broad-based commitment to pro bono. Notably, in 1990 Mintz Levin established its Domestic Violence Project, conceived though the initiative of two first-year associates, as the cornerstone and focal point of its firm-wide pro bono efforts. Over the past two decades, the Domestic Violence Project has grown into an important national resource in serving the needs of victims, advocates and communities across the broad scope of domestic and sexual violence issues. It has become an essential part of the fabric and identity of the firm, with broad participation in each of its offices, from Boston, to New York and Washington DC and to San Diego.

Mintz Levin's domestic violence work takes many forms. The firm has represented over 750 individual victims of domestic and sexual violence; helped form and served as trusted counsel and advisor to a number of national and local advocacy groups, including the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) and Employers Against Domestic Violence; and provided training and technical assistance on domestic violence pro bono cases to in-house counsel and other attorneys. The firm has authored many amicus and other appellate briefs filed with the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal and state appellate courts advocating for the rights of domestic violence victims, including recent amicus briefs filed on behalf of NNEDV in District of Columbia v. Heller and U.S. v. Hayes. The firm has also provided invaluable assistance and expertise in seeking passage of groundbreaking federal and state legislation, including the federal Violence Against Women Act and the aforementioned Massachusetts Act earlier this year.

Mintz Levin's extraordinary Domestic Violence Project is now well established, but it continues to develop and create means to address and eradicate domestic and sexual violence. As such, it is the model for what a signature pro bono project can accomplish and can strive to become.

2009

The recipients of the 2009 ABA Pro Bono Publico Award were honored on August 3, 2009 at the Pro Bono Publico Awards Assembly Luncheon during the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago. Lisa Madigan, the Attorney General of Illinois, was the keynote speaker.

Hope Olsson, Rochester, NY


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Gordon P. Erspamer, San Francisco, CA


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Federal Government Pro Bono Program, Washington, DC


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Holocaust Survivors Justice Network


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Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, New York, NY


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Hope Olsson, Rochester, NY

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After a long career in the software business Hope Olsson went back to law school in her late 40s. She has done pro bono work since that time. As a small firm attorney at Olsson, Fedder LLP in Rochester, NY, Olsson has counseled over 348 individual clients for the Volunteer Legal Services Project (VLSP) of Monroe's County's Debt Clinic. Through her work with the Clinic, she provides debt management education for low income clients, participates in one-on-one client counseling sessions and accepts bankruptcy case referrals. She was also instrumental in helping VLSP establish the Clinic, a model that is one of the most successful in the region. Olsson continues to provide pro bono legal assistance in bankruptcy cases despite recent changes in bankruptcy law that have made this type of work more complicated for practitioners. She has also staffed a project once per month in the Rochester City Landlord Tenant Court to advise unrepresented tenants appearing in the Court of their rights and has done some pro bono immigration work.

Since 1998, Olsson has also been a member of the Board of Directors for Farmworker Legal Services of New York (FLSNY). She assists the project by helping to ensure that farm workers who have successful claims are compensated even when the employer files bankruptcy. She assists FLSNY staff attorneys in answering legal questions and providing mentoring in bankruptcy litigation.

In 2006, Olsson received the New York State Bar Associations President's Pro Bono Service Attorney Award. She has also been actively involved in the Monroe County Bar Association's Bankruptcy Committee, which addresses issues of process and justice in Bankruptcy Court, and was a member of the Association's President's Commission on Access to Justice.

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Gordon P. Erspamer, San Francisco, CA

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Gordon P. Erspamer of Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco, CA has been actively involved in pro bono for almost 30 years. Erspamer has received numerous awards during this time honoring his work as a tireless advocate for veterans' rights.

Erspamer's pro bono cases tend to be large in scope, often brought against government institutions to enforce veterans' rights. One of Erspamer's earliest cases involved an effort to declare unconstitutional the $10 attorney fee limitation imposed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. In 2007, Erspamer filed a lawsuit alleging the failure of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and other government institutions to care for veterans who returned from Iraq and Afghanistan and then suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Most recently, he filed an action for declaratory and injunctive relief under the United States Constitution on behalf of a group of veterans who acted as human test subjects for chemical weapons in the late 50s and 60s.

In addition to his impact pro bono work, Erspamer has brought individual cases on behalf of veterans with profound disabilities who were denied benefits. Erspamer has also provided assistance to attorneys and veterans with questions concerning veteran benefits and advice on the Department of Veterans Affairs claims process.

Erspamer has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Contra Costa County Bar Association, where he was a member of the Pro Bono Committee and Chair of the Judicial Evaluations Committee. In 1992, Erspamer was named "Trial Lawyer of the Year" by the Trial Lawyers for Public Justice Foundation in Washington, D.C. Fifteen years later, Erspamer continues his pro bono work to ensure the rights of veterans and mentors numerous attorneys who do work in this area.

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Federal Government Pro Bono Program, Washington, DC

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The Federal Government Pro Bono Program was originally established in 1996 to comply with an order from then President Clinton which instructed federal agencies to "develop appropriate programs to encourage and facilitate pro bono legal and other volunteer service by government employees to be performed on their own time, including attorneys, as permitted by statute, regulation or other rule or guideline."

Led by the United States Department of Justice, 36 federal government agencies currently participate in the Interagency Pro Bono Working Group. This group was developed to assist federal government agencies with drafting pro bono policies, promoting the federal government's pro bono efforts, and expanding the pro bono program to other agencies and cities. Although the program has been well established in D.C. for over a decade, recent efforts have been made to expand the program to federal agencies in other states. Recently, a pro bono program was launched for federal government attorneys in Chicago that involves a number of local Chicago pro bono organizations.

One of the unique aspects of the program has been its ability to thrive despite the unique challenges facing government attorney who want to do pro bono work. Because government attorneys must provide legal services during their own time, cannot use government resources in providing services, and must be cognizant of job-related conflicts, pro bono work becomes all the more challenging. Yet, despite these obstacles, federal government attorneys have been able to provide pro bono services for a number of local agencies, engaging in such tasks such as providing advice and referrals, litigating civil cases, staffing clinics, and conducting mediation.

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Holocaust Survivors Justice Network

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In October 2007, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the creation of the German Ghetto Work Payment (GGWP) program to provide a one-time payment of 2,000 Euros to Holocaust survivors who conducted "voluntary" work in German-controlled ghettos. Over the course of the next year, legal professionals in over 30 cities came together who collectively provided over 34,000 hours of pro bono service to survivors, resulting in over 2,000 GGWP applications being filed.

The Network has been called "the largest coordinated pro bono effort in United States history." Never before has such a large group of legal professionals come together to coordinate such a seamless effort to reach individuals in need across the nation. Because of the use of technology and strong coordination among partners, the Network has been able to reach an unprecedented number of survivors in an extremely short period of time. In addition, the Network has been able to identify survivors who were previously unknown to social service agencies or local survivor groups due to their vast marketing campaign and other outreach efforts.

Some of the innovative actions that the Network has taken include visiting survivors in their homes to ensure access to services, holding daylong clinics at a firm, holding several simultaneous clinics in a community, and developing a technological platform to track client assignments and case progress. Currently, there are over 2,600 attorneys participating and there are plans to expand the program to Australia and Canada.

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Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, New York, NY

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In 2004, Weil, Gotshal & Manges developed an innovative pro bono policy which requested that every lawyer in the firm perform 50 hours of pro bono work, every partner and counsel take or supervise at least one pro bono matter, and every new lawyer work on at least one pro bono matter. By implementing this policy, the firm nearly tripled its pro bono hours. The firm's US average number of hours per attorney has also reached over 80 hours for the past few years.

Weil's involvement in pro bono cases is extensive both domestically and internationally. Some of the firm's more notable efforts include its work with Human Rights Watch to monitor and analyze on a daily basis motion practice and jurisprudence at the International Criminal Court and its work with the Innocence Project in supporting its litigation, administration and policy work.

One of the more unique pro bono efforts of the firm is its participation as the first "beta subscriber" to Pro Bono Net's interactive Pro Bono Manager. This fully integrated online portal, known in the firm as the "Weil Pro Bono Hotspot," serves as a repository of all materials relevant to the firm's pro bono practice. In addition, in 2008 the firm initiated World Pro Bono Week, during which all Weil offices had a special pro bono related event. The firm also sponsors externships of four to twelve month duration at leading public service organizations. Summer associates and retiring attorneys are also urged to continue pro bono work for the firm and Weil partners with its corporate clients on several pro bono projects.

Over the past two years, the firm has received upwards of 20 different awards from programs around the country for its laudable pro bono work. These include the Pro Bono Institute Pickering Award, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Advocate for Justice Award and the Law Technology News Award for Most Innovative Use of Technology for a Pro Bono Project.

Personal Statement

2008

The ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service has recognized five individual lawyers, law schools and law firms that have demonstrated outstanding commitment to volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged. The recipients of the 2008 ABA Pro Bono Publico Award were honored on August 11 at the Pro Bono Publico Awards Assembly Luncheon during the ABA Annual Meeting in New York City.

The award honors individual lawyers, law firms, law schools, government attorney offices, corporate law departments and other institutions in the legal profession that have enhanced the human dignity of others by improving or delivering volunteer legal services to the poor.

The Pro Bono Committee received 26 nominations for the 2008 Award. After a very thorough review the committee selected the following lawyers and law firms as recipients of the 2008 Award:

Craig Cannon, Winston_Salem, North Carolina


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Fordham University School of Law (Public Interest Resource Center), New York, New York


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Sarah Michael Singleton, Santa Fe, New Mexico


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David A. Kutik, Cleveland, Ohio


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DLA Piper


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Craig Cannon

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Craig D. Cannon has been actively involved in pro bono efforts throughout his career. Cannon's nomination was submitted and supported by representatives of Legal Services Corporation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services and Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC.

Since 2006, Cannon has served as the National Coordinator of the American Bar Association's Disaster Legal Services Program, a program managed pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding between the American Bar Association and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The Disaster Legal Services Program provides pro bono legal assistance to disaster victims across the country. In the fall of 2007, Cannon served as the lead drafter of a new Memorandum of Understanding between the American Bar Association and the Federal Emergency Management Agency that has resulted in a new partnership between the American Bar Association and Legal Services Corporation and the improved delivery of legal assistance to disaster victims. During his tenure as National Coordinator, more than 75,000 disaster victims have received assistance through the Disaster Legal Services Program.

Since 2005, Cannon has helped to plan and implement a series of pro bono clinics for military veterans. These clinics, titled "When Duty Calls" clinics, are designed to assist military veterans in obtaining service related disability benefits from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. During the past two years, "When Duty Calls" clinics have provided pro bono assistance to more than one thousand military veterans. During the same timeframe, hundreds of attorneys have received instruction on how to effectively assist military veterans in filing disability claims with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

Cannon has also personally provided pro bono legal assistance to numerous charitable institutions and spent four weeks in New Orleans during the summer of 2006 providing pro bono assistance to Hurricane Katrina and Rita victims.

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Fordham University School of Law (Public Interest Resource Center)

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Founded at Fordham University School of Law in 1992, the Public Interest Resource Center (PIRC), guided by the remarkable leadership of Tom Schoenherr (currently the Assistant Dean for Public Interest and Director of PIRC) and John Ferrick (currently the Norris Chair of Law to Public Service), among others, and driven by succeeding classes of highly motivated public interest law students, has established itself as a nationally heralded and emulated law school pro bono program and public interest center that is a model for law schools, not only throughout greater New York, but throughout the country.

Nearly 500 Fordham Law students each year participate in some form of pro bono or public service through PIRC, which is staffed by four full-time professionals and administers eighteen separate student-run volunteer programs. Last year, the class of 2007 contributed over 100,000 hours of pro bono or public services through PIRC organizations, internships, externships, clinics and independent projects.

Some of PIRC's programs include:
  1. the Domestic Violence Awareness Center, through which students accompany domestic violence victims to court and participate in the Uncontested Divorce Project;
  2. the Death Penalty Defense Project, including pro bono legal assistance to death row inmates and public comment on capital crimes rule-making;
  3. the Housing Advocacy Project, through which students defend clients at administrative hearings and provide support to a local affordable housing legal services program fighting against evictions in housing court; and
  4. the Immigration Advocacy Project, enabling students to work with legal services providers to assist immigrant women who are victims of domestic violence to apply for green cards under the Violence Against Women Act

Other programs address such issues as prisoner rights, the environment, hurricane assistance, unemployment, human trafficking, homelessness and youth at risk. In addition, PIRC sponsors student internships with non-profit organizations and government agencies throughout the country and awards Stein Scholarships to twenty students in each class year to develop public interest careers.

Fordham University School of Law and its remarkable Public Interest Resource Center supports, trains and educates law students to become lawyers dedicated to the public good. In doing so, they are not only models for other law schools, they are models for us all.

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Sarah Michael Singleton

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Sarah Michael Singleton's nomination was submitted by the President of the State Bar of New Mexico, with the support of the Board of Bar Commissioners, and the endorsement of no fewer than sixteen of the past Presidents of the New Mexico Bar. She also received letters of support from six separate legal services providers who spoke of the unique role Singleton has played in leading the movement to provide Access to Justice and legal services to New Mexico's poor.

As President of the New Mexico State Bar in 1995-1996, Singleton convened the state's symposium on strategies for expanding Access to Justice. She served on the Board of Bar Commissioners from 1989-1997, and throughout that time her primary mission was to educate, motivate and initiate greater understanding of the need for legal services for the poor. She created the Lawyers Care Program, a program of the New Mexico State Bar developed for the purpose of referring cases to the private bar in the face of federal spending cuts to New Mexico's legal aid programs.

Following her term as State Bar President, Singleton served as co-chair of the State Bar's Legal Services and Programs Committee, responsible for addressing access to justice issues. She fought for and helped persuade the State Legislature to provide funding for legal services, resulting in $2.5 million in annual funding. She served as the State Bar's appointee to the Civil Legal Services Commission, responsible for distributing those state funds to organizations serving the legal needs of the poor. Singleton has been the Co-Chair of New Mexico's Commission on Access to Justice since its inception in 2004.

Singleton has been active in the cause of Access to Justice and provision of legal services to the poor beyond the borders of New Mexico. She served two three year terms as a member of the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense (1996-1999, 2001-2004), and four years as a member of the ABA Committee on State Justice Initiatives. Finally, in 2006, Singleton was appointed by the President and confirmed by the United States Senate to serve as a member of the Board of Legal Services Corporation.

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David A. Kutik

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David A. Kutik of Jones Day in Cleveland, Ohio has been actively involved in pro bono efforts throughout his 28 year legal career. As a bar leader, a leader in his law firm and an active practitioner, David has advanced the cause of providing legal services to those most in need but least able to afford them.

Kutik served as President of the Cleveland Bar Association in 2004-2005, and one his primary objectives was to encourage and foster the growth of pro bono commitment from the law firms and law departments throughout the greater Cleveland area. His initiative, entitled, Our Commitment to Our Community, resulted in pledges of more than 60,000 hours of pro bono service in its first year in existence. In that year alone, 2,000 lawyers from 28 law firms and three law departments actually delivered over 70,000 hours of pro bono service. Kutik continues to be very active in fostering pro bono commitment and creating opportunities for lawyers to participate. In his role as Vice President of the Legal Aid Society in Cleveland, he chairs its Pro Bono Committee. Working with the Legal Aid Society, he established a Volunteer Lawyers Program, which has in turn established a number of clinics providing free legal assistance to those in need. In addition, he currently chairs the Ohio State Bar Association Pro Bono Task Force. In that position, he has helped involve the judiciary in Pro Bono programs as well.

Finally, Kutik practices what he preaches. He actively participates in the Legal Aid Society's Brief Advice and Referral Clinics, taking on family law matters at these Saturday morning clinics in neighborhoods throughout Legal Aid's service area.

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DLA Piper

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DLA Piper's pro bono program is widely considered one of the most robust and innovative models among large law firms today. According to The American Lawyer's pro bono survey last year, more than 95% of DLA Piper lawyers in the US worked 20 hours or more on pro bono projects, making the firm #1 for pro bono participation in the AmLaw 200. Lawyers at the firm worked an average of 89 hours of pro bono in 2006. DLA Piper has developed innovative strategic projects in partnership with nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, foundations, and corporate clients. These projects aim to aggregate and focus legal expertise to develop creative solutions to challenging social problems and provide world class legal services to the most vulnerable and underserved members of the global community. Some of DLA Piper's signature projects include: Access to Education, The Fight Against Hunger, and Serving Those Who Serve Our Country.

One project that deserves special recognition is Chicago's Signature Project in Juvenile Justice - the largest pro bono project undertaken by DLA Piper to date. This project grew out of the firm's desire to enhance the impact of its pro bono work by concentrating significant resources in a particular area of law. In all, the firm donated over 23,000 lawyer hours, worth nearly $6.5 million, to representing young people in conflict with the law and to examining particular laws and public policies that impede these young people's abilities to turn their lives around.

Over the past three years, DLA Piper lawyers have zealously represented scores of children I legal proceedings; undertaken a major policy initiative aimed at helping court-involved children return to school; and drafted and introduced legislation in the Illinois legislature that will positively affect thousands of young people's lives.

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2007

The Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service presents these awards to individual lawyers and law firms in the legal profession that have demonstrated outstanding commitment to volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged. The awards were presented at the Pro Bono Publico Awards Assembly Luncheon at the Moscone West Convention Center on Monday, August 13, 2007 at the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California.

The Pro Bono Publico Awards program seeks to identify and honor individual lawyers, small and large law firms, government attorney offices, corporate law departments and other institutions in the legal profession that have enhanced the human dignity of others by improving or delivering volunteer legal services to our nation's poor and disadvantaged. These services are of critical importance to the increasing number of people in this country living in a state of poverty who are in need of legal representation to improve their lives.

The Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service received 26 excellent Pro Bono Publico Award nominations this year. After a very thorough review and deliberation the Committee selected as recipients of the 2007 Awards the following lawyers and law firms. Detailed descriptions of their pro bono accomplishments can be found by clicking on the recipient's name.

2007 Awards Overview
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        2007 Awards All Awards Compilation
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Robert E. Borton, San Francisco, CA
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Derfner, Altman & Wilborn, Charleston, SC
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Stephen H. Oleskey, Boston, MA
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Sidley Austin LLP, Chicago, IL
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Patricia Yoedicke, Minneapolis, MN
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Patricia Yoedicke was selected as the recipient of the Ann Liechty Pro Bono Award, a special award given to honor a lawyer or law firm who has provided outstanding pro bono legal services to children in custody or adoption cases.

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Robert E. Borton

Robert Borton has been a leader in the development of pro bono services to the poor for the past three decades, both through his management of his firm's pro bono practice and his individual representation of low income clients. Working with a number of legal services organizations, Mr. Borton has paired many teams of pro bono attorneys from his firm with public interest attorneys bringing civil rights cases and class actions on behalf of immigrants, children and families, women prisoners, and other groups. He has assisted in setting up pro bono legal clinics and has himself contributed hundreds of hours of his own time to representing indigent people in class action lawsuits and individual cases.

Mr. Borton has also been extremely generous with his firm's resources. He has invited young attorneys from legal services agencies to attend his firm's in-house litigation training program, providing them with comprehensive training free of charge. He has also marshaled attorney involvement in activities ranging from research support for policy impact cases to organizing of a team of 13 attorneys in his firm to teach 120 Oakland high school students about civil rights.

In addition to his own handling of pro bono cases, Mr. Borton has made taking pro bono cases an integral part of his firm's training and culture. Mr. Borton is particularly committed to encouraging pro bono involvement among newer associates and engaging his and other law firms to staff clinics and provide resources to legal services agencies. Because of his many years of pro bono service, Mr. Borton has won a number of pro bono awards, including the State Bar of California's President's Pro Bono Service Award, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Robert Sproul Pro Bono Award, the San Francisco Bar Association Award of Merit and the San Francisco Legal Aid Society's Roll Call for Justice Award.

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Derfner, Altman & Wilborn

Derfner, Altman & Wilborn is a small firm with a big heart. This Charleston, SC firm is exemplary in its dedication to pro bono, especially in the area of civil rights. This year, two of the individual attorneys in the firm, Peter Wilborn and Jonathan Altman, won South Carolina Bar Association pro bono awards.

The firm's lawyers annually spend more than a quarter of their time on pro bono cases. They specialize in representing community groups in controversies that often end in litigation. Some of their recent projects have involved a successful suit to redraw County Council election districts to end discrimination, a successful suit saving a historic African-American cemetery, and a series of suits that have saved the land and homes of a group of African-Americans who were the targets - and almost the victims - of highly sophisticated real estate scams.

The firm's lawyers work together on all of these issues and they have been recognized for their work by the South Carolina Bar Association, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights under Law, the NAACP, and other community and civil rights groups.

Armand Derfner, the founding member of the firm, has always had a passion for defending the underdog. He has particularly focused his efforts on civil rights matters. Mr. Derfner has won numerous cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He has worked on the Voting Rights Act - litigation and working on legislation - throughout its history from passage in 1965 through the most recent re-authorization by Congress in 2006. In Charleston, he challenged the County Council's at large system of elections, arguing that the system discriminates against black voters. Among other recognition, Mr. Derfner has received the Trial Lawyer of the Year award by Trial Lawyers for Public Justice for his work in the desegregation of Mississippi's university system.

Jonathan Altman focuses on consumer law and personal injury. He leads the firm's efforts representing the victims -- primarily African American -- of real estate scams. He worked locally in a case involving the Remley's Point community, an African-American community in Charleston County, against the sale and development of the community's historic cemetery. After five years of litigation, the case resulted in a verdict permanently protecting the cemetery and dedicating it to the public. He is also involved with housing issues, serving as chairman of a commission that promotes home ownership and works to develop policies to achieve more affordable housing in the Charleston area.

D. Peters Wilborn, Jr. successfully addresses legal need in both the microcosm of local issues and the macrocosm of global human rights. In his practice, he focuses on representation of community groups, labor law and election law. He gives generously of his time to local legal aid groups, informing low income consumers of their rights and training other lawyers to be consumer advocates. Two of his cases that received local and national coverage include his representation of a rural African-American community known as Red Top in its fight against suburban sprawl and his assistance to eliminate blatant racial discrimination by a city and some of its businesses towards African American riders during "Black Biker Week". Mr. Wilborn is also a dedicated cycling and pedestrian advocate, serving on the board of the East Coast Greenway Alliance.

The collective talents and dedication of this small firm are exemplary.

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Stephen H. Oleskey

Stephen H. Oleskey is a partner in the Boston, Massachusetts office of WilmerHale. He has been an integral part of the firm's Pro Bono and Community Service Committee since 1969. Mr. Oleskey is deeply concerned with the efficacy of the delivery system of legal services to the poor and committed to fostering the spirit of pro bono in future generations of attorneys.

Mr. Oleskey's pro bono clients and their needs vary widely and illustrate the breadth of his skill. For example, he has been involved in a range of cases such as a three-year on-going New York child custody dispute to acting as lead counsel in the firm's largest and most significant pro bono matter, Boumediene et al. v. Bush, representing six detainees at the United States Naval Base Guantanamo Bay.

Steve's decades of service include significant leadership in various local, national and international legal and social organizations. Whether holding a director or chair position at Boston's most prominent legal service centers or serving as director of Food Corp International, a program that provides research, training and low-cost technology to low income international rural communities, Mr. Oleskey is deeply involved in ensuring access to justice for all.

Mr. Oleskey's dedication to access to justice has been recognized on many occasions. He has been honored with the 1992 Thurgood Marshall Award from the Boston Bar Association, recognized by the International Senior Lawyers Project for his outstanding pro bono services to the Socio-Legal Information Centre in New Delhi, India, received the Massachusetts Correctional Legal Services "Distinguished Service Award" in 2005, and was presented with WilmerHale's own John H. Pickering Award for Pro Bono Activities in 2005.

For four decades, Mr. Oleskey has not only made pro bono representation a priority in his own career, but has also been an inspirational leader. He strives to make a lasting impact on the delivery and quality of services available to indigent clients, undertake high-impact, precedent-setting matters and give a voice to the least powerful in our society.

Logo for Sidley Austin LLP

Sidley Austin LLP

An international firm, Sidley Austin LLP has had a long tradition of pro bono service. The firm's pro bono policy strongly encourages all attorneys to devote time to pro bono legal matters. Sidley places no limit on the number of pro bono hours an attorney can work and strives to ensure that the number of hours of pro bono service equals 3% of the firm's total billable hours.

Over the past decade, Sidley attorneys have provided over 300,000 hours of pro bono legal service and in 2006 alone, provided 75,000 hours on pro bono matters - an increase of almost 50% from 2005. The pro bono legal matters that Sidley has undertaken have varied in scope-from individual cases in areas of child custody and landlord/tenant to U.S. Supreme Court cases potentially affecting millions of people.

In 2005 Sidley initiated a firm-wide death penalty litigation project. In response to the overwhelming need for legal assistance for poor prisoners on death row in Alabama, Sidley attorneys have stepped in to represent an unprecedented 18 death row inmates. Over 112 Sidley attorneys from around the country are participating in this effort and donated more than 18,000 hours of their time in 2006. In recognition of this tremendous contribution, the ABA presented Sidley with its first ever Death Penalty Representation Volunteer Award in 2006.

Furthermore, in 2006, Sidley launched a firm-wide Political Asylum Project to centralize and coordinate the firm's management of asylum cases. Sidley now has a centralized database of materials and attorneys interested in providing representation and provides training and mentoring to its attorneys in this area.

Picture of Patricia Yoedicke
Patricia Yoedicke - ANN LIECHTY AWARD

Patricia Yoedicke is this year's Ann Liechty Child Custody and Adoption Pro Bono Project Award recipient. Ms. Yoedicke is an attorney with Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Since 2000, Ms. Yoedicke has provided close to 800 pro bono hours representing children through the Children's Law Center of Minnesota. These children are state wards whose parents' rights have been terminated. Under Minnesota law, these children are not entitled to representation after the point at which their parents' rights are terminated. Ms. Yoedicke's volunteer representation fills the void for the children she represents. She has often been the most consistent person in these children's lives, and she treats them with respect and professionalism equal to her adult clients.

For each of her child clients, Ms. Yoedicke spends time ascertaining their wishes, explaining available options, consulting with social service providers, and making sure their voices are heard in court. For example, she worked diligently to keep three siblings together in a permanent placement after the proposed adoptive parent decided she only wanted to adopt one of the children. She also represented a child who had contacted the Children's Law Center requesting an attorney to help him get adopted. Ms. Yoedicke was able to successfully assist this child with an adoption placement, helped negotiate a visitation agreement with the child's biological brother, and worked diligently to maintain this placement for the child after the county refused to allow the child to remain in the home. As Ms. Yoedicke says about her pro bono work with children, "The most important message I hope to convey to my clients is that their hopes and dreams can make a difference."

2006

The ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service
Extends special thanks to

WINSTON & STRAWN LLP

and

HOWREY LLP

For their support of the
2006 Pro Bono Publico Awards Program

The Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service was truly impressed with the 29 Pro Bono Publico Award nominations received this year. Having considered all of the nominations, the Committee selected as recipients of the 2006 Awards the following lawyers and law firms for extraordinary contributions of legal services to those who cannot afford representation.

Ward B. Coe, Baltimore, MD
Awards Video RealPlayer clip: 3:40 minutes 5.2 Mb

Debevoise & Plimpton L.L.P., New York, NY
Awards Video RealPlayer clip: 3:52 minutes 5.5 Mb

Debra Brown Steinberg, New York, NY
Awards Video RealPlayer clip: 4:04 minutes 5.7 Mb

Winston & Strawn L.L.P., Chicago, IL
Awards Video RealPlayer clip: 4:00 minutes 5.6 Mb

Richard Zitrin, San Francisco, CA
Awards Video RealPlayer clip: 3:29 minutes 4.9 Mb

Winston & Strawn LLP was selected as the recipient of the Ann Liechty Pro Bono Award, a special award given to honor a lawyer or law firm who has provided outstanding pro bono legal services to children in custody cases.

ABA President Michael S. Greco and the Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service co-hosted the Awards presentation at the Pro Bono Publico Awards Assembly Luncheon in Honolulu, Hawaii. The luncheon and presentation were held at noon on Monday, August 7, 2006 at the Hawaii Convention Center.

Debra Brown Steinberg

Debra Brown Steinberg has led the Cadwalader firm's 9/11 pro bono efforts, providing representation to families of World Trade Center victims. In addition to personally representing several families of 9/11 victims herself, she played a leading role in the creation and development of the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest 9/11 Project in early October 2001.

Ms. Steinberg has also had a role in the drafting and passage of legislation on behalf of victims' families. Specifically, she drafted the Association of the Bar of the City of New York's comments on the interim and final regulations for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund and a substantial portion of the 9/11 Victims and Families Relief Act in NY. Furthermore, she drafted substantial portions of legislation to provide legal recognition and protection to family members of non-citizen victims of the attacks - known as the September 11 Family Humanitarian Relief and Patriotism Act - which is currently pending in both the House and Senate.

Ms. Steinberg has received many honors and recognition for her pro bono service including praise by the United States House of Representatives (May 18, 2004) and acknowledgement in a New York State Senate Legislative Resolution (April 29, 2003). Ms. Steinberg also received the New York State Bar Association's 2003 Pro Bono Service Award.

Ward Coe

Ward Coe is a partner and head of the litigation department at Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, LLP and has spent well over 1,300 hours working for systemic changes in the delivery of pro bono legal services in Maryland.

Mr. Coe exercised tremendous leadership in encouraging his firm to adopt a pro bono policy and, some years later, to lead his firm's efforts to become the first in Baltimore to dedicate a partner to pro bono service. As a result of Mr. Coe's leadership, the amount of the firm's pro bono legal service has doubled.

In addition to firm leadership, Mr. Coe has provided direct pro bono representation, such as administering trusts for plaintiffs from a 1986 law suit against the state challenging the foster care system. He has also served as a member of the Maryland Judicial Commission on Pro Bono which recommended new state pro bono rules and has chaired the Court of Appeals Standing Committee on Pro Bono Service which is charged with implementing the new rules. He has traveled the state and provided countless hours of pro bono fulfilling the obligations of these roles.

In 2002, Mr. Coe received a Maryland Pro Bono Service Award from the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland for his successful multi-year representation of an impoverished mental health patient who had been denied benefits by his disability insurer. In September, 2005, Mr. Coe received The Maryland Bar Foundation's Professional Legal Excellence Award for the Advancement of the Rights of the Disadvantaged, and in October, 2005, he was selected by a past Maryland State Bar Association President to receive The Pro Bono Resource Center's Pro Bono Legal Service Award.

Richard Zitrin

Richard Zitrin has been a dedicated pro bono attorney providing direct legal services to clients of the Homeless Advocacy Project (HAP) of the Bar Association of San Francisco's (BASF) Volunteer Legal Services Program for over four years. He also created the twice-monthly drop in legal clinic at San Francisco's Glide Memorial Church and single-handedly staffs the clinic on a regular basis. In addition to his direct client work, Mr. Zitrin conducts pro bono work on a systemic level - drafting rules, codes and legislation in partnership with bar associations and state governments.

Mr. Zitrin's pro bono commitment has been evident since his graduation from law school. After graduation, he and a group of new attorneys and law students founded the Criminal Legal Aid Collective (CLAC), a nonprofit organization in San Francisco that provided pro bono legal defense services to indigent clients in criminal cases. In total, he worked on thirty CLAC pro bono cases between 1976 and 1981.

Mr. Zitrin is also extremely active in the community and with local, state and national bar associations. He is also the recipient of several awards, including being honored by the Bar Association of the San Francisco's Foundation for volunteer work in 2004, and a Certificate of Merit from BASF for promoting "equality and justice for all" in 2002.

Debevoise & Plimpton, LLP

Debevoise & Plimpton, LLP is an international firm that has set the standard for pro bono. The firm's commitment to pro bono legal service is demonstrated by its consistent ranking among the nation's top law firms for pro bono work. In 2005, Debevoise was ranked number one on the American Lawyer's A List.

Debevoise & Plimpton gets lawyers involved right away upon joining the firm and have taken several different approaches to introduce new lawyers to pro bono. The firm has done extensive transactional pro bono work with numerous non-profit and community-based organizations serving low-income communities.

Debevoise has always taken on important and complex pro bono litigation. Traditionally, the firm has applied its most significant resources in this arena. In recent pro bono cases, Debevoise lawyers have advocated on behalf of clients seeking to assert and defend international human rights, prisoners' rights, voters' rights, labor and employment rights, First Amendment rights and other constitutional civil rights, as well as the rights of individuals with mental illness.

In recent years, Debevoise has been recognized for its outstanding pro bono work by a variety of public interest organizations. In 2005, Debevoise was honored by The Legal Aid Society for its work on prisoners' rights. In 2004, Debevoise was honored with the first Marvin E. Frankel Pro Bono Award by Human Rights First, in recognition of the firm's longstanding commitment to pro bono activities in the field of human rights and, in particular, the firm's work in assisting refugees in seeking political asylum. In 2003, Debevoise was the recipient of The Legal Aid Society's 2003 Pro Bono Publico and Public Service Law Firm Award and was recognized for its pro bono efforts by the Urban Justice Center.

Winston & Strawn - ANN LIECHTY AWARD

In the late 1990's, staff from the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services Foundation (CVLS) were appointed as guardian ad litems in a handful of problematic guardianship cases in Cook County. However, by the early 2002, the appointments grew more than the CLVS staff could handle. As a direct result of this development, in late 2002 Winston & Strawn and CVLS formed a partnership that continues to this day. This partnership has benefited both parties, as it allows Winston to have a continuing pro bono opportunity for its lawyers and CVLS a larger staff base to handle the growing number of appointments assigned to them from the minor guardianship courtroom. The significance of Winston's work is twofold: it is being done by partners, and attorneys from practice areas other than litigation are providing representation. Between February 28, 2003 and January 16, 2006, more than 40 Winston attorneys have donated 2,300+ hours as Guardian Ad Litem in 74 cases. Winston is the first law firm to be honored with this award.

From top to bottom: Steve Sher, Chris Gangemi, Dave Hambourger, Brian Wanamaker, Peggy Davis, Bill Doyle, Sean Ginty, Pat Doyle, Ellen Duff and Arnie Gough.

2005

The Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service selected as recipients of the 2005 Awards the following lawyers for extraordinary contributions of legal services to those who cannot afford representation.

Deborah Ebel was selected as the recipient of the Ann Liechty Pro Bono Award, a special award given to honor a lawyer who has provided outstanding pro bono legal services to children in custody cases.

ABA President Robert J. Grey and the Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service co-hosted the Awards presentation at the Pro Bono Publico Awards Assembly Luncheon in Chicago, IL. The luncheon and presentation were held at noon on Monday, August 8, 2005 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

J. Philip Burt has demonstrated his dedication to the delivery of legal services on a pro bono basis on many levels. In Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he is a partner in the law firm of Burt, Blee, Dixon, Sutton & Bloom, Mr. Burt leads by example and represents countless pro bono clients, mainly in consumer and bankruptcy areas. He has maintained three or four pro bono cases a year for at least 44 years. Long before there was an organized volunteer lawyer initiative in Fort Wayne, Mr. Burt helped to establish a pro bono assistance program through a local church. On a state level, Mr. Burt has been a member of the Indiana Pro Bono Commission since its creation in 1999 and has served as the Chair since 2002. Prior to the creation of the Commission, Mr. Burt was a key architect of the state's IOLTA Rule that directed funds to statewide pro bono programs and assisted in the development of local pro bono districts to build a statewide pro bono infrastructure. In his role as Chair, he has spearheaded many new initiatives, including a law school pro bono and mentoring project through the state Pro Bono Commission that brings together lawyers and law students from the four law schools in Indiana.

Awards Video RealPlayer clip: 3:55 minutes 5.5 Mb

Deborah Ebel is this year's Ann Liechty Child Custody Pro Bono Award recipient is Ms. Ebel is the Pro Bono Coordinator and a litigation partner at McKenna, Long & Aldridge in Atlanta, Georgia. Ms. Ebel was the co-founder of the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation's ("AVLF") Guardian Ad Litem ("GAL") program, the first of its kind in Georgia. Her law firm served as the program's initial sponsor, and supplied the first group of volunteers. Her firm remains the primary sponsor and regularly offers its offices and resources for GAL trainings. To date, the AVLF program has served as GAL in over 1,300 cases, and is a national model for programs advocating for children in private custody cases. Ms. Ebel herself has accepted almost thirty GAL cases through AVLF, more than any other GAL and totaling many thousands of pro bono hours. Since the program's inception, she has regularly donated her time both in developing new materials for the GAL Training Manual and in training new volunteers. She has participated in over twenty GAL trainings and has traveled throughout Georgia to help other jurisdictions develop similar programs. Ms. Ebel also has improved the quality of GAL advocacy in Georgia, recently playing an invaluable role in developing statewide guidelines for GALs.

Awards Video RealPlayer clip: 3:35 minutes 5.1 Mb

Lawrence J. Fox is a partner at the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania law firm of Drinker, Biddle & Reath. Mr. Fox has served as the Chair and a Steering Committee Member for the ABA's Death Penalty Representation Project continuously since 1996. In this capacity, he has recruited more than a dozen law firms to handle death penalty cases on a pro bono basis and engaged both state and federal judges to host pro bono recruitment events. He has written and spoken extensively throughout the country on the critical need to provide defendants on death row with qualified and effective legal representation. In addition to his advocacy work, Mr. Fox has represented two death penalty clients himself and has been involved in many other cases as counsel for amici, strategic advisor, or both. In other substantive matters, he has recorded over 650 pro bono hours on a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of public housing residents in Chester, Pennsylvania with the goal of rehabilitating and improving public housing. As a pro bono lawyer, he has taken on diverse issues such as child welfare, election law, and prisoners' rights at Guantanamo Naval Base.

Awards Video RealPlayer clip: 3:47 minutes 5.4 Mb

Elizabeth McCallum, a partner at Howrey, Simon, Arnold & White's Washington DC office, billed almost 800 pro bono hours in 2004 and since joining Howrey in 1995, over 4,000. She has worked to improve the lives of poor school children through her advocacy to ensure that students of the Baltimore City School District receive a "thorough and efficient education" as guaranteed under the Maryland Constitution. She has been instrumental in ensuring that public interest organizations advocating for the rights of the disabled have the right to use state governments who are violating their rights to access. And, from the very beginning of her career in 1992, she has been a strong advocate for reproductive rights, including winning a significant victory in Tennessee. McCallum also volunteers at legal clinics and assists individual clients with their legal problems. She serves as a role model for all of the firm's lawyers and as a mentor for many of Howrey's associates.

Awards Video RealPlayer clip: 3:48 minutes 5.4 Mb

Jeffrey A. Simes is a litigator and the Pro Bono Partner in Goodwin Proctor's New York office. In 2004 he was the lead trial attorney in a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of homeless children and their parents living in Suffolk County New York. The lawsuit alleged that state and county agencies and school districts had failed in their responsibility for educating and providing social services to these children. Simes led a team of 42 attorneys and professional staff from Goodwin Proctor's New York and Boston offices. The case settled, resulting in hundreds of homeless children in Suffolk County being given the support they need to attend school. Simes has continued his work on behalf of children's rights to education by joining New York City's Homeless Education Working Group and through his speaking out and testifying about the critical issues facing homeless youth. His leadership by example, in addition to his promotion of pro bono within the firm, has been instrumental in Goodwin Proctor increasing its firm-wide pro bono commitment.

Awards Video RealPlayer clip: 3:14 minutes 4.6 Mb

2004

Left to right first row: Hon. Irwin Cotler, Warren Sinsheimer
Left to right second row: James Sandman, Stephen Cullen, Toby Hollander, Debbie Segal, Hon. Pamila Brown, Gov. Roy Barnes

Left to right:
Hon. Irwin Cotler, Minister of Justice (Canada)
and ABA President Dennis Archer

Toby Hollander was selected as the recipient of the Ann Liechty Pro Bono Award, a special award given to honor a lawyer who has provided outstanding pro bono legal services to children in custody cases.

The Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service is honored to provide special recognition to Kenneth Feinberg who served in a pro bono capacity as Special Master for the Victims Compensation Fund (VCF). The VCF was enacted by Congress after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and was established to provide a no fault legal process to compensate the victims and the families of the terrorist attacks of that day. As the VCF's Special Master, Mr. Feinberg has carried the major burden of implementing the directive of Congress to provide a fair and efficient process of compensation. He has worked diligently, without any personal compensation, carrying out his work in an exemplary manner.

The Awards were presented at the Pro Bono Publico Awards luncheon in Atlanta, GA. The luncheon and presentation were held at noon on Monday, August 9, at the Georgia World Conference Center. ABA President Dennis W. Archer hosted the Pro Bono Awards Luncheon.

The keynote speech was given by the Honourable Irwin Cotler, who is the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.

   
   
   
   
Roy E. Barnes
Atlanta, GA

  
Stephen Cullen
Towson, MD

  
Kenneth Feinberg

  
Toby H. Hollander
Portland, Maine

  
Warren Sinsheimer
New York, NY

Arnold & Porter LLP, Washington, D.C.

  • Roy E. Barnes, Atlanta, who at the end of his term as governor of Georgia served a six-month tenure as a volunteer staff lawyer for the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, exemplifying his long-time commitment to providing legal services to the poor. During his time with the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Barnes devoted himself to using his formidable litigation skills to help clients, particularly elderly and disabled victims of predatory lending practices. Beyond donating his legal services, he committed to sharing his considerable legal knowledge and experience by participating in ongoing training programs at Legal Aid, and he leveraged his excellent reputation among Atlanta's lawyers to improve the delivery of legal services to low income people and to increase pro bono involvement throughout the city.

  • Stephen Cullen, Towson, Maryland, who has dedicated himself to improving pro bono legal services for children caught in international custody disputes. His work has been particularly helpful to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and parents whose children have been abducted internationally, whom NCMEC assists. Cullen represents left-behind parents whose children have been abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, the United States. In the past five years, Cullen has worked on more than 45 international child abduction cases as a pro bono lawyer under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

  • Toby H. Hollander, Portland, Maine, whose dedication to providing outstanding pro bono guardian ad litem services for Maine's children caught in custody cases garnered him this year's Ann Liechty Child Custody Pro Bono award. Hollander now focuses exclusively on providing guardian ad litem services, which he undertakes as a solo practitioner. Working through the Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project, Hollander has handled more than 50 pro bono guardian ad litem matters for children, including complex custody cases involving high conflict and domestic violence. In addition to donating his time and services, Hollander launched a brown bag lunch educational series for guardians ad litem where he leads discussions about the resources available to low-income children. He has also served as a mentor to other volunteer guardians ad litem.

  • Warren Sinsheimer, New York, who after practicing law for nearly 50 years now volunteers as president and managing attorney of Legal Services for Children, Inc., an organization he established in 1999 to bring free civil legal services to disadvantaged New York children. Since opening its doors, LSC has provided pro bono legal representation to more than 2,500 children, most of whom had no other access to legal assistance. In addition to his leadership of LSC and pro bono work, Warren has recruited, trained and utilized more than a dozen retired and other no-longer-practicing lawyers who volunteer at LSC two to four days a week representing children in need.

  • Arnold & Porter LLP, Washington, D.C., which has committed itself to setting a national example of law firm excellence in providing pro bono legal services. In addition to averaging more than 130 pro bono hours of legal services per lawyer at the firm, Arnold & Porter also established a number of innovative new pro bono programs in 2003, including criminal defense of the indigent, federal appellate advocacy, and a resource center for the D.C. Landlord Tenant Court. The firm also took on a number of new pro bono cases in a variety of areas such as discrimination against undocumented aliens, First Amendment issues, technology sharing among countries, assistance to the arts, medical services to minority communities, domestic security and human rights, and fighting HIV/AIDS discrimination.

2003

  • Kimball Anderson, Winston & Strawn Law Firm, Chicago, IL
  • Mary Pat Toups, Laguna Woods, CA
  • Latham & Watkins, LLP
  • Pfizer Inc. Legal Division, New York, NY
  • Jacqueline Valdespino, Valdespino & Associates, Coconut Grove, FL
Jacqueline Valdespino was selected as the recipient of the Ann Liechty Pro Bono Award, a special award given to honor a lawyer who has provided outstanding pro bono legal services to children in custody cases.

The Awards were presented at the Pro Bono Publico Awards Assembly Luncheon in San Francisco, CA held at noon on Monday, August 11, at the Moscone Center. San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown was the keynote speaker.

   
   
   
Kimball Anderson
Winston & Strawn
Chicago, IL

   
Mary Pat Toups
Laguna Woods, CA

   
Jacqueline M. Valdespino
Valdespino & Associates
Coconut Grove, FL

   
Jeffery B. Kindler
General Counsel
Legal Division
Pfizer Inc.
New York, NY

2002

Michael Miller, New York, NY
Luis A. Ochoa, DeConcini McDonald Yetwin & Lacy, Tucson, AZ
Morrison & Foerster, LLP, San Francisco, CA
Ohio Attorney General Pro Bono Program, Columbus, OH
Rebecca Rundgren, Shughart Thomson & Kilroy P.C., Denver, CO

Attorney Rundgren was selected as the recipient of the Ann Liechty Pro Bono Award, a special award given to honor a lawyer who has provided outstanding pro bono legal services to children in custody cases.

ABA President Robert Hirshon, with the Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, co-hosted the awards presentation at the Pro Bono Publico Awards Assembly Luncheon in Washington, DC. We were honored to have the Former First Lady and Vice Chair of the Carter Center, Rosalynn Carter, as our keynote speaker.

Pictured left to right: Luis Ochoa, Michael Miller, Pamila Brown, Rosalynn Carter,
Robert Weiner, Anthony Press (Morrison & Foerster) Betty Montgomery (Attorney
General of Ohio), Rebecca Rundgren

Pictured left to right: Anil K. Mehta,
recipient of Pro Bono Publico award
in 2000, Rosalynn Carter

2001
Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, LLP of Columbus, OH
Honorable Merrill Hartman of Dallas, TX
Elizabeth Barry Johnson of Birmingham, AL
Neil V. McKittrick of Boston, MA
Marcos & Negron, LLP of New York, NY

2000
Anil K. Mehta, Buena Park, California
Charles Patterson, Los Angeles, California
Exxon Company, USA Law Department (now ExxonMobile Corporation), Houston, Texas
Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe, San Francisco, California
University of Pennsylvania Law School, Public Service Program, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1999
Christina Rainville, Peter Greenberg, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Hunton and Williams, Richmond, Virginia
Jenkins & Mulligan, San Francisco, California
Merck & Co., Inc., Whitehouse Station, New Jersey
William S. Harwood, Portland, Maine

1998
Legal Division of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), McLean, Virginia
Norlen Drossel, Berkeley, California
V. Ann Liechty, Billings, Montana
Vance Salter, Miami, Florida
Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, Washington, D.C.

1997
John Chen, Chicago, Illinois
Allan Gropper, New York, New York
Holland & Knight, Tallahassee, Florida
Ann Q. Niederlander, St. Louis, Missouri
Shea & Gardner, Washington, D.C.

1996
B. Riney Green, Nashville, Tennessee
The Office of the Broward County (FL), Attorney Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Lise M. Iwon, Wakefield, Rhode Island
Munger, Tolles & Olson, Los Angeles & San Francisco, California
Rolando Cruz Defense Team (Thomas Breen, Matthew Kennelly, Nan Nolan and Professor Lawrence Marshall), Chicago, Illinois

1995
Warren E. George, San Francisco, California
Amy J. Greer, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
David Schoen, Montgomery, Alabama
Honorable William VanNortwick, Jr., Jacksonville, Florida
Jenner & Block, Chicago, Illinois

1994
Alston, Rutherford, Tardy & Van Slyke, Jackson, Mississippi
Andre Dennis, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Douglas Robinson, Washington, DC
Wm. Reece Smith, Jr., Tampa, Florida
Steel Hector & Davis, Miami, Florida

1993
Russell Austin, Sacramento, California
Covington and Burling, Washington, DC
Oliver Hill, Richmond, Virginia
Edward Kelaher, Surfside Beach, South Carolina
Victor Marerro, New York, New York

1992
Suzanne E. Turner, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Douglas Young, San Francisco, California
Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough, Columbia, South Carolina
Joseph S. Genova, New York, New York
Robert E. Juceam, New York, New York

1991
Manlin M. Chee, Greensboro, North Carolina
Edmond M. Connor, Irvine, California
Amitai Schwartz, Berkeley, California
Arvin S. Miller, III, Dayton, Ohio
Hogan & Hartson, Washington, DC

1990
Frank X. Gordon, Jr., Phoenix, Arizona
Judge James Keith (Ret.), Fairfax, Virginia
John W. Martin, Jr., Dearbon, Michigan
Helen R. Stone, Boulder, Colorado

1989
Benjamin L. Cardin, Baltimore, Maryland
Carl (Tobey) Oxholm, III, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Joseph T. Pemberton, Bellingham, Washington
Goulston & Storrs, Boston, Massachusetts

1988
Arthur J. England, Jr., Miami, Florida
Penny L. Parker, Dallas, Texas
Seth Waxman, Washington, DC
Allen H. Wernick, New York, New York

1987
James J. Brosnahan, San Francisco, California
Eldon E. Fallon, New Orleans, Louisiana
Stephen O. Kinnard, Atlanta, Georgia
Vincent P. McCarthy, Boston, Massachusetts

1986
Scott J. Atlas, Houston, Texas
Robert L. Harris, San Francisco, California
Dale Reesman, Boonville, Missouri
Nevett Steele, Jr., Towson, Maryland

1985
John G. Brooks, Boston, Massachusetts
Hon. Howard H. Dana, Portland, Maine
John D. Elliott, Columbia, South Carolina
Robert L. Hill, Hartford, Connecticut

1984
Herbert L. Ely, Phoenix, Arizona
Russell E. Carlisle, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
James L. Baillie, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Robinson, Bradshaw and Hinson, Charlotte, North Carolina

Updated: 2/27/2014

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