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August 01, 2021 Section News

Cindy M. Kirby Named 2021 Jean Crowe Pro Bono Award Recipient

Cindy M. Kirby of Kirby & Kirby Ltd. in Toledo, Ohio, has volunteered with the Toledo Bar Association (TBA) Pro Bono Legal Services Program for more than twenty-five years. In her first year in practice, she only took pro bono clients, a precedent set by her grandfather, the Honorable Ira Bame. Pro Bono has continued to be a major focus of her practice. In June 2021, she was honored with the 2021 Jean Crowe Pro Bono Award of the American Bar Association’s Family Law Section. The award is named in honor of Jean Crowe, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee for nearly thirty years.

“I was blown away when I heard that I had received this award. It’s an honor to be recognized and to bring awareness to the Toledo Bar Association Pro Bono Legal Services Program. I strongly believe that as attorneys, we have an obligation to give back to the community,” said Kirby.

For twenty-three years, Kirby was a sole practitioner with a concentration in family law. When her husband Mike retired as a Magistrate from the Lucas County Domestic Relations Court in the spring of 2016, they formed Kirby & Kirby, Ltd., where Cindy is the senior partner. While she has a very busy practice, she continues to dedicate much of her time to pro bono cases that focus on divorce with minor children, as well as more complex divorce cases involving the LGBTQ+ population.

In addition to representing individual clients on a pro bono basis, she volunteers at a number of TBA Pro Bono Legal Services Program Clinics. Monthly she participates in the Veteran Affairs Brief Advice Clinic. Routinely she will encounter veterans with family law issues and provide advice on site. While no attorneys participating in the clinics are expected or encouraged to take pro bono cases from the clinics, Cindy often does due to her desire for a successful outcome.

Cindy is continuously working to grow the number of attorneys in the Toledo area doing pro bono work. Mentoring new lawyers is one of the best ways she has found to instill a sense of duty to engage in pro bono work. Kirby and other members of her firm provide all of the domestic relations law training for new lawyers participating in the year-long Toledo Bar Association Fellowship Collaborative, which helps new lawyers start solo practices.

Cindy plans to donate the $1,500 stipend for winning the Jean Crowe Award to the Toledo Bar Association Pro Bono Legal Services Program.

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