ABA HONORS DENVER LAWYER REBECCA RUNDGREN WITH FIRST ANN LIECHTY PRO BONO CHILD CUSTODY AWARD
CHICAGO, June 14, 2002 - Denver lawyer Rebecca Rundgren received a 2002 American Bar Association Pro Bono Publico Award during a noon luncheon on Aug. 12, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., during the ABA Annual Meeting.
The ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service established the award in 1984 to recognize lawyers, law firms and other legal institutions for extraordinary noteworthy contributions to extending free legal services to the poor and disadvantaged. Rundgren is the first recipient of the ABA Ann Liechty Pro Bono Child Custody Award, an award presented in memory of a former Pro Bono Publico Award recipient to honor a lawyer who has provided outstanding free legal services to children in custody cases.
ABA President Robert E. Hirshon will host the Pro Bono Publico Awards Assembly Luncheon. Former first lady Rosalynn Carter will be the keynote speaker at the luncheon. Also receiving awards will be Michael Miller of New York; Luis A. Ochoa of Tucson, Ariz.; the law firm of Morrison & Foerster, LLP; and the Ohio Attorney General's Pro Bono Program. President Hirshon will also acknowledge the outstanding work of a number of legal organizations that made significant contributions post-September 11 to assist victims and their families.
The exemplary work of the recipients encompasses legal assistance programs for victims' families after September 11; development and delivery of legal services for the poor; and representation of children at risk, the homeless, the elderly, and others who are disadvantaged.
"The individuals and firms receiving 2002 ABA Pro Bono Publico Awards have displayed tireless dedication to ensure that legal services are available to so many people in need," said Robert Weiner, chair of the ABA committee. "This extraordinary devotion shown throughout their careers, and specifically in the aftermath of September 11, sets an example for the entire legal profession. These award recipients truly make a difference in the lives of those they serve. They deserve our highest commendation."
Rundgren has displayed dedication and commitment to representing children in a variety of cases. She has devoted a substantial portion of her pro bono efforts to assisting children involved in custody battles. At the Rocky Mountain Children's Law Center, Rundgren has provided direct representation to children in domestic violence and divorce cases. In a recent restraining order case, she was appointed guardian ad litem and was later appointed special advocate when the case was filed in the District Court. To continue her representation within the context of the dissolution proceedings, she took on the task of verifying the parents' compliance with temporary orders regarding location and time for exchanging the children.
Rundgren has shown proficiency in dealing with children and families from diverse cultures. In a child custody case involving two young boys from Sierra Leone, she handled the case with sensitivity and professionalism, researching the children's daily environments and the nature of their interactions with those both in and outside their cultural community. As a result of her research and interaction with the two boys, the children now refer to her within their community as a "mother" to denote her as a special friend.
"We are very fortunate to have Rebecca's commitment and enthusiasm," Michele Roche, Rocky Mountain Children's Law Center Pro Bono Coordinator, wrote in her letter nominating Rundgren for the Pro Bono Publico Award. "It is pro bono attorneys like Rebecca Rundgren who make a difference in the lives of children. Rebecca deserves recognition as a champion for children."