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Louis M. Brown Award

Brown Select

The ABA Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services may, in its sole discretion, cancel, rescind, suspend, withhold, or otherwise limit or restrict this Award.

The nominees provided the materials used to create the descriptions on this page. They do not represent the opinions of the ABA or its Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services.

2024 Brown Select Award

The Ballot for the 2024 Brown Select Award are now opened. 

Nomination Form

Nominee descriptions are below.

How Does it Work?

1. Each year, programs and projects submit nominations for the Louis M. Brown Award for Legal Access

2. The Delivery Committee decides the winner of the Brown Award, but votes from the public (YOU!) determine which nominee will receive the BROWN SELECT recognition.


Brown Award Nominees

1. Black Connect Small Business Legal Services Program

Black Connect operates the largest national pro bono legal services program for the Black business community. Black Connect’s mission by providing essential supportive legal services to underserved and at-risk businesses. Our partnering law firms provides business-related legal services that help Black entrepreneurs and small business owners avoid costly legal mistakes and build sustainable businesses.

2. Drama-Free Divorce (a Clay County Court-Annexed Program)

Drama-Free Divorce is a flat-fee law firm, offering services to people who agree to be divorced (or victims of domestic violence whose spouses are incarcerated or unable to be found). What began as a way to help people who made too much money for free legal services but could not afford a bythe- hour attorney, has grown into something so much more. Along with a litany of other issues in the court system, it had become clear that, although parties could file pro se, using the court-approved forms, they could not redact or construct judgments that met all of the necessary criteria to allow them to finalize their dissolutions. This resulted in huge dockets for the court and many frustrated clients. DFD then worked with the court to become courtannexed (providing FREE representation in Orders of Protection) so they could speak to litigants in person at the pro se dockets. The attorney attends each docket and notes what each case is missing. Parties can then call in (or choose from a list of limited-entry attorneys) and have their documents completed for a low, flat fee and submitted to the court by affidavit, preventing the parties from missing more days of work.

3. Legal Adoption Aid

Generations United states that since 2010, children being raised by relatives (in kinship care), have increased from 26% to 34%. shares that placement into kinship care, as opposed to with a non-relative, provides “increased stability, safety, and the ability to maintain family connections.” writes that many, if not most, of the 2.7 million children in kinship care lack a legal relationship with their caregiver. Many relatives provide care for children without legal custody or guardianship because litigation is costly; and unfortunately, the majority of legal assistance agencies do not litigate family law cases. For those living just above the poverty line, public assistance is out of reach. Without legal custody or guardianship, a grandparent or relative will have difficulty enrolling the child in their care in school, obtaining medical information or treatment, or accessing benefits for them. Legal adoption or guardianship empowers these caregivers to become legally attached to their child in care, allowing them to fully participate in their life. Greenlight’s Legal Adoption Aid Program is available to all Illinois residents who fall within 125% - 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. Greenlight attorneys obtain legal permanency for caregivers through adoption or guardianship.

4. Low Cost Legal Services Program

Oakland Mediation Center launched its low-cost legal services program in 2018. The inspiration for launching this program was years of intakes with clients for mediation services asking us if we had an attorney that could give them legal advice, explain their rights etc. for clients that are unable to receive legal aid due to not qualifying for legal aid, being conflicted out of legal aid, or legal aid was at capacity, etc., but were unable to afford a traditional private attorney at the current average cost of an attorney. Fees are based on income and family size, generally averaging $90 per hour, or fixed fees. Attorneys provide full representation or limited scope services based on the needs and abilities of the client. This program is open to everyone regardless of socio-economic status. Our Legal Services are tailored to each individual client and their needs throughout Michigan. This program can be replicated using our operational model; attorneys looking to make a difference ensuring access to justice is available for everyone in their community.

This program receives referrals from the Court, legal aid, as well as community members. Since it’s inception, our program has assisted more than 1,500 individuals and families.

5. National Association of Black Defenders, Inc

National Association of Black Defenders, Inc. is a Movement for Social Change. Awareness of people so we can have some direction in the midst of what is going on. We need more of a sense of direction in place; have to understand the issues in order to understand the mindset. In order for us to bring Justice, we have to understand Justice ourselves. The enemy might have changed his tricks, but we have to use the same strategies that were used in the 1960s.

6. The Archbishop Ireland Justice Fellows Program

At St. Thomas Law, we leverage partnerships for impact in the justice gap. Philanthropic partnerships place St. Thomas Law graduates in one-year fellowships to work in the justice gap, addressing the pressing civil legal needs for individuals who can't affort a lawyer. This program is an innovative way for St. Thomas Law to partner with legal service providers to address the systemic injustice. Not only does the program address the justice gap with resources, action, and immediate impact, it creates opportunity for meaningful employment for St. Thomas Law graduates. Over half of all Ireland Justice Fellows to date have been offered a permanent position beyond the one-year commitment. Since its founding in 2015, over 22 Ireland Justice Fellows have worked for organizations delivering critical legal services for those in need. That is over 45,000 hours of legal work for people who could not afford a lawyer, and for people facing significant legal issues that impact other areas of living. We raise funds in partnership with impact philanthropists to place the graduates. Between the philanthropist and the placement, the lawyer makes a minimum of $60K for the year. The legal experience for the graduate as been exceptional.

Award Resources