May 23, 2019

ABA to honor two law firms, three individuals for their record of pro bono efforts

CHICAGO, May 23, 2019 — The American Bar Association will present awards to three individual lawyers and two law firms for demonstrating outstanding commitment to volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged at its Annual Meeting Aug. 8-13 in San Francisco.

The Pro Bono Publico Awards are the top honors given by the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, which over the years has spotlighted pro bono efforts of individual lawyers and small and large law firms, government attorney offices, corporate law departments and other institutions in the legal profession.

Recipients of the 2019 Pro Bono Publico Awards are:

Faegre Baker Daniels of Minneapolis: Pro bono service is a core value of this firm, as it has a rich tradition of providing legal services to low-income and other vulnerable people to help ensure everyone has equal access to justice. In 2018, lawyers across the firm contributed 38,950 pro bono hours, with 79 percent of the firm’s lawyers participating in the program and 80 percent of their pro bono hours devoted to serving low-income clients. The firm supports more than 25 community clinics, and the pro bono practice involves representing individuals in a range of matters, including systemic reform efforts.

McCarter & English, LLP of Newark, N.J.: Since its founding, this firm has been committed to serving low-income people and communities. All attorneys are encouraged and expected to participate in pro bono. In the past year, the firm’s attorneys dedicated 16,903 hours to pro bono service, launching new projects firmwide to respond to emerging needs, including sending teams of partners to immigration detention facilities and creating a pro bono fellowship to serve low-income residents of Newark.

Marc S. Ehrlich of Troy, N.Y.: A lawyer in New York’s Capital Region, Ehrlich has worked to improve the financial lives of his pro bono clients and has mentored other lawyers in pro bono work for much of his 30-year career. He has spent countless hours shepherding pro bono clients through the process of Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and is known to routinely accept clients from The Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York and other area legal service organizations. He is known to encourage other lawyers to take on pro bono caseloads that can be time consuming and challenging.

Mona Kaveh of Las Vegas: Even though Kaveh has practiced complex litigation in Nevada since 2010, she makes time to help foster children on a pro bono basis, representing many for several years through the Children’s Attorneys Project at the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada. She began that relationship while in law school in 2008, and has continued it, in addition to encouraging other lawyers and law firms to accept dozens of pro bono cases. Kaveh also volunteers at a shelter that temporarily houses foster children and teaches life skills courses to homeless youth in the Las Vegas Valley. 

Arturo Gonzalez of San Francisco: The nomination of Gonzalez came from one of the more unusual sources: a retired federal judge who presided over two pro bono jury trials in which the honoree served as lead counsel and achieved “outstanding and exemplary results” for plaintiffs pushing civil rights claims against law enforcement. Altogether, Gonzalez has worked on more than 100 pro bono cases while a partner at Morrison & Foerster. His work has led law enforcement agencies and governmental units to improve some of their protocols and procedures in terms of tactics and investigatory means.

The awards will be presented at a luncheon at the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco on Saturday, Aug. 10 from noon to 1:30 p.m. Past years recipients can be found here.

(Media: Individual pictures of the recipients are available upon request. Please email bill.choyke@americanbar.org.)

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