Vol. 32, No. 5

Spotlight on Law Day, Louis M. Brown, NCBP award winners

by Marilyn Cavicchia

Winners of the Law Day Outstanding Activity Awards, the Louis M. Brown Award for Legal Access, and the National Conference of Bar Presidents Fellows Award were recognized at a luncheon during the Midyear Meeting of NCBP, the National Association of Bar Executives, and the National Conference of Bar Foundations. Below are the recipients of the awards given at the meeting, which was held in Los Angeles in February.

Law Day Outstanding Activity Awards

The theme for Law Day 2007 was “Liberty Under Law: Empowering Youth, Assuring Democracy.” Recipients of awards from the ABA Division for Public Education for outstanding Law Day activities were:

With the help of many state and local partners, the Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago hosted the 2007 Illinois Youth Summit, which helped 1,000 students at 24 high schools better understand how the law can serve their needs and interests by giving them a voice in our democracy. Students selected in advance three topics for study and action: universal health care for youth, online student speech rights, and instituting a military draft. During spring 2007, they researched these topics and conducted related educational service projects. On April 27, delegates from each school met at the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago with state and federal policy makers to discuss these topics and make policy recommendations.

With the support of many community and business partners, the Houston Bar Association commemorated Law Week with a number of activities. These included: a Law Day naturalization ceremony, in which more than 2,300 new citizens from 100 nations took the oath of allegiance; poster and essay contests for K-8 and high school students, respectively; a fun run to raise money for the Center Serving Persons with Mental Retardation; a Lawyers Against Waste Committee commemoration of Law Day and Earth Day; nearly 60 classroom visits to read and discuss “The Flag We Love,” by Pam Munoz Ryan; a Dialogue on Youth and Justice; a “Java with the Judges” event; speeches to local law students; and a LegalLine call-in program.

The New York State Bar Association, through its Youth Service Advocate Program, began a “Youth Empowering Youth” program on Law Day 2007. Through this program, the bar and its partners conferred an honorary designation to youth, ages 10 through 18, who identify needs in state legal offices and then develop and execute projects to fill those needs. Another component of the program is a mock trial training video that showcases New York high school students who participated in the 2007 statewide mock trial competition. The video is being distributed to 500 New York high schools to encourage students to join mock trial teams and to train first-time members of those teams.

The Palm Beach County (Fla.) Bar Association worked with the Paralegal Association of Florida, Palm Beach County Chapter, to provide many opportunities for students and other members of the community to better understand the judicial system. They hosted more than 25 mock trials and placed more than 20 speakers in the local schools, reaching more than 1,300 students, and sponsored an oratorical contest for high school students. Lawyers reached hundreds of members of the public through an “Ask-a-Lawyer” booth at the local mall, a “Dial-a-Lawyer” program, and legal educational clinics. The PCBA is working with other associations across Florida on the Justice Teaching Initiative, which aims to pair every elementary, middle, and high school in the state with a legal professional.

Louis M. Brown Award for Legal Access

This award, given by the ABA Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services, recognizes those who work to improve access to justice for people of moderate means.

The 2008 award went to the Chicago-Kent College of Law Center for Access to Justice & Technology. The center operates three law and technology initiatives, all dedicated to making justice more accessible to the public through the use of the Internet in teaching, legal practice, and public access to the law. The A2J Author is a software tool that allows those from the courts, legal services programs, and educational institutions to create guided interviews for document assembly, electronic filing, and data collection. Consumers answer simple questions about their legal issues, and the technology translates the answers to create or assemble the documents that need to be filed with the court. The Access to Justice Student Editorial Board is a student-run initiative to create the A2J guided interviews through a structured process involving research, legal analysis, interview creation, and intensive review. The Self-Help Web Center, which is equipped with three Internet workstations that are staffed by law student volunteers, offers assistance to courthouse visitors at Chicago’s Daley Center.

For only the second time in 14 years, the Brown Award this year also recognized an individual for dedication to innovation in the delivery of legal services. M. Sue Talia was honored for devoting more than 1,000 unpaid hours each year to helping lawyers, judges, and court personnel understand and deliver limited scope representation and unbundled legal services. Since 1998, Talia has presented more than 100 programs across the country, mainly targeting solo and small firm practitioners who represent middle-income clients, giving them the tools and skills to reach many more clients than they could through traditional legal services. To help practitioners avoid the malpractice issues that can arise with unbundled services, Talia has created risk management materials that include best practices, fee agreements, office checklists, client handouts, office forms, and tips for implementing a limited scope practice.

National Conference of Bar Presidents Fellows Award

The Fellows Award recognizes the accomplishments of a past bar president who has demonstrated a continuing commitment to leadership, service, the work of the organized bar, and the purposes of the NCBP.

John (Jack) L. Carey, South Bend, Ind., received the 2008 Fellows Award. Throughout a professional life spanning more than 50 years, Carey has held several leadership roles at the Indiana State Bar Association and the American Bar Association.

He served as president of the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum in 1974-75 and was elected state bar president the following year. Carey was the Indiana state delegate to the ABA House of Delegates and a member of the ABA Nominating Committee from 1975 to 1985, was a district representative for the Board of Governors from 1985 to 1988, and eventually became a member of the board’s Executive Committee. In this capacity, he was the liaison to the ABA Tax Section, the Military Law Committee, and the Lawyers in Armed Forces Committee.

A member of the ABA Finance Committee from 1985 to 1989, Carey chaired the committee in 1988. In 1990, he began a three-year term as ABA treasurer. During the mid- to late-’90s, he served as director of the American Bar Journal, the American Bar Endowment, and the National Conference of Lawyers and Certified Public Accountants. He was elected president of the American Bar Retirement Association for 1998-99 and was named chair of the American Bar Foundation Fellows for 1999-2000.

Carey is retired of counsel to the South Bend office of Barnes & Thornburg. He began his career in 1941 as a legislative assistant in the U.S. Senate, eventually working for the Internal Revenue Service and as a staff judge advocate at Andrews Air Force Base. In 1956, he joined the firm that merged to become Barnes & Thornburg, was elevated to partner in 1961, became of counsel in 1987, and retired the following year. He concentrated his practice in areas of business and taxation.