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Pro Bono

Jean Crowe Pro Bono Award

Prior to the Section's Spring Conference, the Section of Family Law Jean Crowe Pro Bono Award Committee selects an attorney to receive the Section's Jean Crowe Pro Bono Award.

This award honors the legacy of former ABA Family Law Section Council member, Jean Crowe, a founder of the Nashville Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and longtime attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands.

The recipient of the Family Law Section Jean Crowe Pro Bono Award shall be a person who has made a difference by offering services on a pro bono basis, or promotes organization(s) that provide legal services to low income and/or underrepresented populations. The recipient shall be a person who goes "above and beyond." The recipient does not have to work for a legal services entity, but must show commitment and dedication to the above. If a potential recipient works for a legal services entity, that person must rise above the normal call of employment.

The award is presented during the Section’s Spring Conference. A $1,500 cash prize will be given to the pro bono or public service organization of the recipient’s choice.

For more information on the Section of Family Law Jean Crowe Pro Bono Award, contact the ABA Section of Family Law.

2024 Nomination Information

To nominate an outstanding pro bono attorney or to self-nominate, please complete the nomination form by February 16, 2024.

2024 Jean Crowe Pro Bono Award Rules

2024 Nomination Form

Potential recipients shall be nominated by others or can be self-nominated. Criteria for selection includes the following:

  • The total number of pro bono hours spent (yearly) and complexity of cases handled by a nominee;
  •  The impact of the nominee's pro bono work and/or benefit to low income or underrepresented populations;
  • Particular expertise provided or particular need satisfied by the nominee;
  • Successful recruitment by the nominee of other attorneys for pro bono representation (if applicable); and
  • Proven commitment by the nominee to the delivery of quality legal services to low income and/or underrepresented populations, and commitment to equal access to legal services.

2023 Winner: 
Kristin Whidby 

Lawyers are uniquely positioned to provide each of their clients with a voice, and this is exactly what drives this year’s 2023 Jean Crowe Pro Bono Award recipient Kristin Whidby to champion for underrepresented individuals in the face of domestic violence through her pro bono legal services.

Kristin is a litigation special counsel and registered patent attorney at Fried Frank, based in the firm’s Washington, DC, office. She brings both her skills as an experienced litigator and her personal empathy as a mother of four young children to every one of her cases. Throughout her career, she has spent thousands of hours advocating for clients in complex family law cases involving child custody and domestic violence protection.

“A client I represented six years ago in a child custody case recently called me. Because of the civil protection order and child custody order we obtained on her behalf, she and her children were able to stop living in fear and finally prosper. The oldest child is now getting ready to graduate college—the first in her family—with a degree in cybersecurity, and has a job lined up with an international bank after graduation. None of that would have been possible with their prior circumstances. This is why I do pro bono, for the moments like this where you know that you made a real positive difference in someone’s life,” said Kristin.

Kristin has become a champion for DC Volunteer Lawyers Project (DCVLP), both within Fried Frank and in the wider legal community. DCVLP is a nonprofit organization providing pro bono legal services to domestic violence victims and at-risk children.

Kristin is deeply committed to providing pro bono services, particularly for victims of domestic abuse. Her clients in the family law arena have been predominately low-income and particularly vulnerable at the time representation commenced. Along with taking on her own cases, Kristin also encourages her fellow colleagues to get involved with pro bono work and take on domestic violence civil protection order cases of their own. She supervises both the summer and junior associates who take the lead on these cases, and helps them prepare for opportunities to speak in court.

Her impact has been recognized by DCVLP, which selected her as Law Firm Volunteer Attorney of the Year in 2016, and the Florida Bar, which recognized her as a Pro Bono Service Award recipient in 2019 for her work representing individuals in complex family law cases involving abused women or children. Additionally, Kristin has been named to the Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll eight times and received the designation of ‘High Honors’ six times, which recognizes attorneys who contributed 100 hours or more of pro bono service in the calendar year.

Kristin’s dedication to client welfare epitomizes the steadily increasing commitment that nonprofits hope for—moving from a volunteer on a single case to a partner in recruiting, advocacy, development and governance.