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ABA honors Las Vegas lawyer Patricia Lee with Pro Bono Publico Award

ABA honors Las Vegas lawyer Patricia Lee with Pro Bono Publico Award

By Edward McEneely

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 8, 2013 — Patricia Lee, a partner at Hutchison & Steffen in Las Vegas, will receive the American Bar Association’s Pro Bono Publico Award for her outstanding service.

Lee exhibits remarkable dedication to pro bono efforts, both on a personal level and as a leader in her law firm. 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.

The ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service will honor Lee and four other 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.

Ever since taking her first pro bono case — in which Lee helped two sisters with AIDS and successfully reunited them with their mother — Lee tries to always maintain at least one pro bono case with a child client.

After becoming the first female partner at Hutchison & Steffen, Lee worked to transform her law firm’s pro bono culture. Hutchison & Steffen became the first law firm in the state to adopt domestic violence as its signature pro bono area, and it was honored by the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada’s Pro Bono Project for taking on the greatest number of pro bono cases (47) in the region last year.

Lee is a member of the Legal Aid Center’s Pro Bono Advisory Council, which works to encourage lawyers to take on pro bono cases. She also volunteers her time for the Legal Aid Center’s Ask-a-Lawyer program, which provides low-income individuals a free legal consultation. She serves as an appointed member of the Self Help Center’s Steering Committee and as a volunteer attorney for the Child Advocacy Program in Nevada, where she represents abused and neglected children in Clark County.

In December 2012, Lee was honored as Pro Bono Attorney of the Year by the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada. She is also president of the Las Vegas Chapter of the National Bar Association Foundation.

Lee graduated from the University of Southern California in 1997 with a dual degree in psychology and communications. She earned her law degree in 2002 from George Washington University, where she was elected as the community service director for the Student Bar Association.

Other 2013 Pro Bono Publico Award recipients are lawyers Jeffrey Trachtman of New York and Bruce B. Blackwell of Orlando, Fla., law firm Leonard, Street and Deinard of Minneapolis and Exelon Corp. of Chicago. More information on the Pro Bono Publico Awards and the 2013 recipients is available here.

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