The 2013 recipients of the ABA Pro Bono Publico Award are:
- Bruce B. Blackwell of King, Blackwell, Zehnder & Wermuth P.A. in Orlando, Fla.
- Jeffrey Trachtman of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP in New York
- Patricia Lee of Hutchison & Steffen in Las Vegas
- Leonard, Street and Deinard of Minneapolis
- Exelon Corp. of Chicago
The ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service will honor the award recipients at the Pro Bono Publico Awards Assembly Luncheon from noon to 1:30 p.m. Aug. 12 at the Moscone Center West during the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco. ABA President Laurel G. Bellows will host the awards ceremony.
“Lawyers lead our nation every day in the quest for justice and equality,” Bellows said. “These award recipients fulfill this mission through their dedication to pro bono work. They are outstanding examples of how lawyers can have meaningful and lasting effects on their communities.”
The Pro Bono Publico Awards honor individuals or organizations in the legal community that enhance the human dignity of others by improving or delivering volunteer legal services to the poor or disadvantaged.
A brief description of the recipients’ pro bono work follows:
- Blackwell regularly performs more than 500 hours of pro bono work per year, including taking on controversial cases as well as raising money for and lobbying Congress on legal services for the poor. Not only is Blackwell often called upon for tough pro bono cases, many of which involve clients who are abused women or abandoned children, he goes above and beyond just providing legal assistance and transforms the lives of his clients.
- Trachtman’s commitment to pro bono services spans a quarter-century. He has been a leader both at Kramer Levin and in the legal areas of Social Security disability and LGBT rights. While serving as the head of his firm’s Pro Bono Committee from 1994 to 2011, Trachtman dedicated 200 to 400 hours a year to administering the program and 100 to 500 hours a year to substantive pro bono work. And although he has stepped down as chairman, he still devoted more than 500 hours to pro bono activities last year.
- Lee exhibits remarkable dedication to pro bono efforts, both on a personal level and as a leader at Hutchison & Steffen. In 2012, she performed more than 250 hours of pro bono service and led a pro bono initiative at her firm, leading it to donate more than 900 hours. Lee is a member of the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada’s Pro Bono Advisory Council, which works to encourage lawyers to take on pro bono cases, as well as a volunteer for the Child Advocacy Program in Nevada, where she represents abused and neglected children.
- Leonard, Street and Deinard has demonstrated enduring dedication to pro bono services, and at the heart of this commitment is the firm’s Legal Clinic at the Community-University Health Care Center in south Minneapolis, where its attorneys provide free legal representation in an effort to help improve the health and welfare of the patients. Since the opening of the Legal Clinic in 1993, Leonard, Street and Deinard attorneys have aided about 1,900 clients and dedicated about 83,600 hours to pro bono cases.
- Exelon’s legal department initiated an official pro bono program in 2002 to encourage all employees — not just attorneys — to participate in charitable activities to provide access to legal services for the poor. Exelon serves as a model for other companies through its pro bono policies, including allowing its attorneys and paralegals to apply up to 50 hours of pro bono work against their annual hourly requirement, establishing a department goal for pro bono hours and evaluating outside counsel based in part on their pro bono activities.
More information on the Pro Bono Publico Awards is available here.