2014 Pro Bono Publico Award Recipient: Norton Rose Fulbright

Each year, the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service Pro Bono Publico Awards honor individuals or organizations in the legal community that enhance the human dignity of others by improving or delivering volunteer legal services to the poor or disadvantaged. 2014 recipients were honored at a luncheon during the ABA Annual Meeting in Boston. This is the last of a five-part series recognizing this year’s award winners. 

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Norton Rose Fulbright is one of the largest global legal practices with more than 3,800 lawyers in over 50 locations spanning six continents. The law firm believes in contributing to the communities where they live and work, and it organizes pro bono services through a 15-member committee of partners representing each of its 11 U.S. offices. Attorneys at the law firm annually provide tens of thousands of hours to pro bono matters across the globe, amounting to millions of dollars in legal fees donated each year to help those unable to pay for legal fees. In 2013 alone, Norton Rose Fulbright lawyers logged almost 105,000 hours of pro bono worldwide. In the firm’s U.S. offices alone, 85 percent of attorneys logged volunteer hours, for an average of 111 hours per lawyer.

Click here to watch and listen as attorneys with Norton Rose Fulbright share their insights about receiving the award and their service.

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Top 5 Ways to Celebrate Pro Bono!

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This year marks the 6th annual National Celebration of Pro Bono, an initiative of the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service through which lawyers from across the country honor their responsibility to the profession and their communities by volunteering their services to the underserved. This week-long Celebration, held October 19-25, 2014, provides an opportunity for legal organizations to commemorate the important contributions of America’s lawyers and to recruit and train the many additional volunteers required to meet the growing demand.

Here are five ways you can join in the National Celebration of Pro Bono:

1. Organize an Event for Celebration Week

Bring the celebration to your hometown. Visit the Resources section of the Celebration website for great organizing ideas and tools. Free consultation services are also available to facilitate your planning. Contact the ABA’s Center for Pro Bono staff: celebrateprobono@americanbar.org.

2. Find and Participate in a Celebration Event

With over 950 events across the country posted to the Celebration website last year, there is something for everyone. Visit the events page of the Celebration website to find a pro bono event near you.

3. Share Your Pro Bono Story

Your own pro bono story has the potential to inspire others to the essential work of providing legal assistance to the underserved. Tell us why you do pro bono by sending us your pro bono statement via e-mail (both video and written stories welcome!)

My name is _________ and I do pro bono because _________.

4. Shop for a Good Cause

Time to start your Celebration shopping! Order gifts for your volunteers or promotional items to help spread the word about your event directly from the Celebration store.

5. Spread the Word

Tell us how you celebrated! Did you have a successful event? Has the Celebration helped you expand and enhance your program? We’d love to share your story – and any pictures you may have of your event – on our website.

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2014 Pro Bono Publico Award Recipient: Kermit Lowery

Each year, the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service Pro Bono Publico Awards honor individuals or organizations in the legal community that enhance the human dignity of others by improving or delivering volunteer legal services to the poor or disadvantaged. 2014 recipients were honored at a luncheon during the ABA Annual Meeting in Boston. This is the fourth of a five-part series recognizing this year’s award winners. 

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Kermit Lowery is a vice president and assistant general counsel for the LexisNexis U.S. Legal Department. Before joining LexisNexis, he was an assistant judge advocate in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Lowery is the immediate past president and a member of the board of trustees for the Dayton Volunteer’s Lawyer Project, where he handles up to 20 pro bono cases per year, while also balancing his work demands at Lexis Nexis. In addition, Lowery mentors law students at the Leadership Counsel for Legal and Diversity and is currently serving as second vice president on the board of trustees for the Dayton Bar Association.

Click here to watch and listen as Mr. Lowery shares his insights about receiving the award and his years of service.

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Pro Bono — One Judges’ Journey

Hon. Lora J. Livingston

Hon. Lora J. Livingston

I have been a judge for almost twenty years and I love my work.  I do not miss the private practice of law, with one exception.  I do miss advocating on behalf of the low-income clients I represented as pro bono counsel.  As a lawyer in a small law firm, I routinely accepted pro bono cases referred by the local pro bono program.  I was frequently called upon to take challenging family law matters simply because the need was so great.  I even served as a consultant to larger law firms whose partners and associates were not as well versed in the area of family law.  To say that this work was rewarding is a significant understatement.  I became a lawyer because I wanted to speak for those who could not speak for themselves.  Each pro bono case I took reminded me of why I went to law school and each time I closed a pro bono case file I was proud to be a lawyer.

As judge, I continue to use my advocacy skills to advance pro bono in my legal community.  Most notably, I write and speak about the importance of pro bono in our profession. And I encourage (some might say cajole) lawyers to participate in pro bono programs and projects. I always say please and thank you and in between, I let lawyers know that I consider pro bono service a hallmark of professionalism.

My colleagues on the bench also feel strongly that our system of justice is enhanced by the work performed by pro bono lawyers.  The Civil Judges in my area sent out a written “Judicial Call to Action: Take One” which outlined the need and ways in which lawyers could help meet that ever increasing need in our community.  This letter to local lawyers made one simple request, “please take at least one Volunteer Legal Services (VLS) case this year.”  (Note the “please”).

Because it is so important to recognize the pro bono contributions of lawyers, the judges call every lawyer who closes a pro bono file through VLS to personally thank them for providing free legal services to the low-income citizens in our community.  Lawyers who take VLS cases are also recognized at an annual event and the lawyer who has made the most significant contribution each year is awarded a coveted prize named in honor of a judge who championed pro bono both on and off the bench.    (Note the “thank you”).

Judges, like lawyers, have a responsibility to engage in activities that promote justice and the rule of law. Typically, judges may participate in activities that impact the administration of the justice system. The work judges engage in which promotes access to justice helps improve the justice system overall and has the benefit of enhancing the perception of the public concerning our system of justice.  Judicial leadership is vitally important to the success of achieving the goal of access to justice for all.

Participation in pro bono is a matter of professionalism and a matter of pride. I am proud to support pro bono activities locally, statewide and nationally.

Hon. Lora J. Livingston is the judge of the 261st District Court in Travis County, Texas (Austin).  She has served on the ABA Commission on IOLTA, the ABA Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services, and the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants (SCLAID).  She currently serves on the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service.

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2014 Pro Bono Publico Award Recipient: Alan Howard

Each year, the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service Pro Bono Publico Awards honor individuals or organizations in the legal community that enhance the human dignity of others by improving or delivering volunteer legal services to the poor or disadvantaged. 2014 recipients were honored at a luncheon during the ABA Annual Meeting in Boston. This is the third of a five-part series recognizing this year’s award winners.

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Alan Howard is a partner in Crowell & Moring’s New York office. He also does extensive pro bono work. He represented one of the defendants in the nationally prominent “Jena 6″ proceedings in Louisiana, a case of national prominence for its civil rights implications. Howard currently leads an effort on behalf of nearly 200 skilled workers from India who are alleged to be victims of one of the largest human trafficking schemes in the country’s history. He also serves as chairman of the Board of Directors of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Click here to watch and listen as Mr. Howard shares his insights about receiving the award and his years of service.

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Call for Proposals: 2015 EJC Law School Preconference

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Request for Proposals

2015 ABA/NLADA
Equal Justice Conference
Law School Preconference

Presented by
ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service &
The National Legal Aid & Defender Association

May 6, 2015

 Main conference sessions May 7-9, 2015

Hilton Austin | Austin, Texas
www.equaljusticeconference.org

The 2015 EJC Law School Preconference planning team invites you to submit program recommendations for this year’s preconference.
Please refer to the proposal guidelines and complete the proposal
online submission form.

If you have questions, please contact Nura Maznavi at nura.maznavi@americanbar.org

 Proposals are due no later than Wednesday, September 24, 2014

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2014 Pro Bono Publico Award Recipient: Judge Edward Ginsburg

Each year, the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service Pro Bono Publico Awards honor individuals or organizations in the legal community that enhance the human dignity of others by improving or delivering volunteer legal services to the poor or disadvantaged. 2014 recipients were honored at a luncheon during the ABA Annual Meeting in Boston. This is the second of a five-part series recognizing this year’s award winners.

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Edward M. Ginsburg was an associate justice of the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court for nearly 25 years. Upon his retirement from the bench in 2002, Ginsburg founded the pro bono program, Senior Partners for Justice, in cooperation with the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association. Senior Partners has grown to more than 1,000 members including lawyers, retired judges and law students. Among the members are many experienced family law practitioners who represent low-income clients and mentor newer attorneys.

Click here to watch and listen as Judge Ginsburg shares his insights about receiving the award and his years of service.

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2014 Pro Bono Publico Award Recipient: Dechert LLP

Each year, the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service Pro Bono Publico Awards honor individuals or organizations in the legal community that enhance the human dignity of others by improving or delivering volunteer legal services to the poor or disadvantaged. 2014 recipients were honored at a luncheon during the ABA Annual Meeting in Boston. This is the first of a five-part series recognizing this year’s award winners.

Dechert

Dechert LLP is an international law firm headquartered in Philadelphia, where 99 percent of its 900 lawyers provide pro bono service, at an average of about 103 annual hours per attorney. Worldwide, Dechert provided more than 82,000 hours of pro bono service in 2013. At any given time, the firm handles upwards of 1,500 individual pro bono matters. Areas in which Dechert lawyers have provided service include: public benefits, voting rights, landlord-tenant, prisoner civil rights, veterans, education, immigration, habeas, nonprofits/small businesses, social impact investment, criminal, civil rights and human rights matters.

Click here to watch and listen as attorneys with Dechert share their insights about receiving the award and their service.

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The Clearinghouse Library for Pro Bono Adds Technology Items

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Bill Jones

The Center for Pro Bono maintains a Clearinghouse library of documents relevant to pro bono management, recruitment, recognition and support.  Over the last year, this Clearinghouse has been migrated to new software run on the American Bar Association (ABA) servers.  Prior to the migration, the collection was reviewed and obsolete items removed.  We have instituted a more simplified tagging scheme as the new software allows full keyword searching of available documents, a feature missing in the earlier software. There are now over 3,200 documents and resources represented—at least a third which are currently available for immediate viewing as PDF files while the rest can be individually requested through a link to an online form. This is only the beginning, as we strive to collect and add new content on a regular basis.

As we add new content, we want to expand our collection of non-ABA web resources. Whereas in the past we preferred having a physical/digital copy of an item we will now increase linking to the web resources of other members of the poverty law community.  As a start the Center has added several resources that focus on technology.

To begin with we wanted to point to important technology organizations that would be most relevant to our work, so naturally we have added the Legal Services National Technology Assistance Project (LSNTAP), the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), Techsoup.org and out of local pride LTRC — the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center.  We also list the LSC’s Technology Initiative Grant program, particularly projects that have focused on tech for pro bono development.

We’ve added links to free reports and white papers on technology use, for example Getting Started with Data-Driven Decision Making, the 2013 Consumers Guide to Low Cost Donor Management Systems, the Consumers Guide to Content Management Systems for Nonprofits, the Nonprofit Social Media Policy Workbook and The Resilient Organization:  A Guide for Disaster Planning and Recovery.  We link to the papers generated in the recent LSC Summit on the Use of Technology to Expand Access to Justice some of which were published in the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology and others which are available at JOLT‘s website.  Of course, the Final Report from the LSC Technology Summit is also included.  These resources help programs make better choices in their technology decisions.  In particular the LSC Summit materials give a good overview of the state of delivery technology in the legal services community as well as indicating where the major technology focus will be in the next several years for LSC affiliates.

Some special collections of interest are also included:  NTEN’s and LSNTAP’s YouTube videos, LSNTAP’s Case Management System Reviews and Ratings web area and Social Media Governance’s Social Media Policy Database.

We also include some tools/widgets in the mix:  A2J Author, the Legal Aid Society of Louisville’s Law and Health Screening Tool, a Social Media policy generating tool from Canada, Legal Assistance of Western New York’s WriteClearly gadget and NTEN’s Technology Benchmarking Tool for nonprofits.

To view the technology resources recently added to the Clearinghouse, go to http://www.americanbar.org/directories/pro_bono_clearinghouse.html and select “Technology” from the “Content Topic” expandable menu.  The Center would appreciate any feedback on other web resources that should be added to the Clearinghouse—if you’d like to suggest a technology resource or other item, please send a link to the resource and a brief description to abaprobono@americanbar.org

Bill Jones is the Technology, Information and Content Coordinator for the ABA’s Center for Pro Bono.

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2014 Pro Bono Publico Award Recipients

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The ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service is please to announce the recipients of the 2014 Pro Bono Publico Awards.

Dechert LLP
International

Judge Edward M. Ginsburg (Retired) 
Senior Partners for Justice Newton, MA

Alan Howard
Crowell & Moring, New York, NY

Kermit F. Lowery
LexisNexis, Miamisburg, OH

Norton Rose Fulbright
Houston, TX

Pro Bono Publico Award Overview

Each year the Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service presents five awards to individual lawyers and institutions in the legal profession that have demonstrated outstanding commitment to volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged.

This year the awards are presented at the ABA Annual Meeting on

Saturday, August 9
Noon-1:30p.m.
Ballroom A | Hynes Convention Center

The Honorable Robert A. Katzmann, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, will address attendees as the keynote speaker.

To register for the ABA Annual Meeting and to purchase tickets for the Pro Bono Publico Awards Luncheon visit the ABA Annual Meeting registration page.

To sponsor or purchase a table at the Luncheon, please complete this form.

Check back over the coming weeks to learn more about this year’s award recipients

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