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ABA recognizes outstanding contributions to volunteer legal services with 2014 Pro Bono Publico Awards

ABA recognizes outstanding contributions to volunteer legal services with 2014 Pro Bono Publico Awards

By John Glynn

(CHICAGO, Aug. 4, 2014)  — The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service will recognize three individual lawyers and two law firms with its 2014 Pro Bono Publico Awards on Saturday, Aug. 9, at its Awards Assembly Luncheon at the Hynes Convention Center, during the ABA Annual Meeting in Boston.

ABA President James R. Silkenat will present the 2014 awards. “The recipients of the 2014 Pro Bono Publico Awards demonstrate the highest levels of commitment and service offered by the legal profession,” said Silkenat. “Through their efforts on behalf of others, they represent the tens of thousands of lawyers in this country who deliver on the promise of equal justice for all.”

The 2014 honorees are:

Dechert is an international law firm headquartered in Philadelphia, where 99 percent of its 900 lawyers provide pro bono service, at an average of about 103 annual hours per attorney. Worldwide, Dechert provided more than 82,000 hours of pro bono service in 2013. At any given time, the firm handles upwards of 1,500 individual pro bono matters. Areas in which Dechert lawyers have provided service include: public benefits, voting rights, landlord-tenant, prisoner civil rights, veterans, education, immigration, habeas, nonprofits/small businesses, social impact investment, criminal, civil rights and human rights matters.

Edward M. Ginsburg was an associate justice of the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court for nearly 25 years. Upon his retirement from the bench in 2002, Ginsburg founded the pro bono program, Senior Partners for Justice, in cooperation with the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association. Senior Partners has grown to more than 1,000 members including lawyers, retired judges and law students. Among the members are many experienced family law practitioners who represent low-income clients and mentor newer attorneys.

Alan Howard is a partner in Crowell & Moring's New York office. He also does extensive pro bono work. He represented one of the defendants in the nationally prominent "Jena 6" proceedings in Louisiana, a case of national prominence for its civil rights implications. Howard currently leads an effort on behalf of nearly 200 skilled workers from India who are alleged to be victims of one of the largest human trafficking schemes in the country's history. He also serves as chairman of the Board of Directors of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Kermit F. Lowery is a vice president and assistant general counsel for the LexisNexis U.S. Legal Department. Before joining LexisNexis, he was an assistant judge advocate in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps. Lowery is the immediate past president and a member of the board of trustees for the Dayton Volunteer’s Lawyer Project, where he handles up to 20 pro bono cases per year, while also balancing his work demands at Lexis Nexis. In addition, Lowery mentors law students at the Leadership Counsel for Legal and Diversity and is currently serving as second vice president on the board of trustees for the Dayton Bar Association.

Norton Rose Fulbright is one of the largest global legal practices with more than 3,800 lawyers in over 50 locations spanning six continents. The law firm believes in contributing to the communities where they live and work, and it organizes pro bono services through a 15-member committee of partners representing each of its 11 U.S. offices. Attorneys at the law firm annually provide tens of thousands of hours to pro bono matters across the globe, amounting to millions of dollars in legal fees donated each year to help those unable to pay for legal fees. In 2013 alone, Norton Rose Fulbright lawyers logged almost 105,000 hours of pro bono worldwide. In the firm’s U.S. offices alone, 85 percent of attorneys logged volunteer hours, for an average of 111 hours per lawyer. 

The ABA 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.

The ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service provides national leadership in policy, outreach, implementation and technical assistance activities designed to encourage, expand and improve pro bono activities and programs.

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at www.ambar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.

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