PRO BONO

Five top volunteers receive honors at ABA Annual Meeting

June 8, 2020

The American Bar Association will present awards later this summer to three individual lawyers, a law firm and a corporate law department for demonstrating outstanding commitment to volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged.

Since 1984, the ABA Pro Bono Publico Awards have honored commitment to volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged.

Since 1984, the ABA Pro Bono Publico Awards have honored commitment to volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged.

American Bar Association photo

The Pro Bono Publico Awards are the top honors given by the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, which celebrates pro bono efforts of individual lawyers and small and large law firms, government attorney offices, corporate law departments and other entities in the legal profession. The awards will be presented at the ABA Annual Meeting, which will be virtual from July 29 to Aug. 4 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recipients of the 2020 Pro Bono Publico Awards are:

  • Leah Godesky of O’Melveny & Myers LLP. A litigation partner based in New York, Godesky leads the firm’s pro bono efforts for women’s reproductive rights and has won landmark victories against several states seeking to severely restrict access to abortion.

  • Neil Steiner of Dechert LLP. A New York litigator, Steiner has helped ensure that marginalized individuals can exercise the right to vote and for nearly 15 years has led pro bono teams at Dechert in challenging voting rights restrictions.

  • G. Allan Van Fleet of G. Allan Van Fleet P.C. Winner of the ABA Antitrust Law Section’s inaugural pro bono award, Van Fleet has contributed his time for nearly 45 years to a variety of legal causes after beginning pro bono work in 1976 as a student at Columbia Law School.

  • Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP. The firm has dedicated more than 375,000 hours to pro bono matters in the past 15 years, including work on behalf of disabled veterans, foster care children, immigrants and survivors of domestic abuse.

  • American Express General Counsel’s Organization. Four years ago, this office relaunched its pro bono program, and last year alone had more than 50 volunteers who provided more than 100 hours of pro bono legal services to 28 low-income entrepreneurs.

The ABA Pro Bono Publico Awards began in 1984.

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