Super Lawyers Announces Pro Bono Award Recipients
The eight recipients embody the spirit and purpose of pro bono legal service
Eagan, Minn., January 23, 2012 – Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is announcing eight recipients of its newly created Pro Bono Award. The award honors legal professionals, students and institutions that exemplify excellence in the practice of law through offering volunteer legal services to the poor, disadvantaged or exploited.
The eight recipients of Super Lawyers first annual Pro Bono Award include practicing attorneys, law firms, law students and law programs. The winners were chosen by a review committee which evaluated each application based on several factors including legal effort, personal contribution, impact to the law and innovation. Law students and law programs were evaluated on the additional factors of community outreach and leadership.
From providing free legal counsel to Hawaii’s most vulnerable citizens, to combating human trafficking, to aiding Native Americans in drafting wills that adhere to the unique needs and laws governing Indian reservations, the tireless work of each award recipient embodies the very spirit and purpose of pro bono legal service, and the award itself.
In addition to the honor, each winner will receive editorial coverage in a 2012 edition of a Super Lawyers magazine, also published on superlawyers.com, and a cash prize.
“All of us at Super Lawyers were inspired by the nominations for the Pro Bono Award, and we’re proud to recognize and reward these law students and lawyers for their impactful work in support of the poor and underrepresented. We look forward to sharing their stories – examples of selfless commitment to bring justice to those who need it, not just those who can afford it -- throughout the year,” says Barb McGivern, vice president and general manager, Super Lawyers.
The Super Lawyers Pro Bono Award was divided into three tiers: There is one first-place award, one second-place award, and six honorable mentions. The eight award recipients are highlighted below:
· Attorney Paul Alston of Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing in Honolulu is the recipient of the first-place award. He was nominated for his work providing pro bono legal counsel in 2011 in several cases in which he led teams of lawyers from his firm that represented poor and vulnerable citizens in complaints against the State of Hawaii, for infractions such as failing to maintain public housing complexes, failing to provide equal access to healthcare and failing to process food stamp applications in a timely manner.
· Law student John Rafferty, of Villanova University in Villanova, Pa. is the recipient of the second-place prize. He witnessed the effects of human trafficking while serving overseas as an officer in the U.S. Navy and since then has dedicated his time and legal talents to anti-trafficking advocacy and training in Ecuador, the Republic of Georgia, Washington D.C. and in his home city with the Philadelphia Anti-Trafficking Coalition.
· Attorney Amelia McCarthy of Gass Weber Mullins in Milwaukee is a recipient of an honorable mention prize for her work on a mission in Namibia, where she helped strengthen an organization that serves over 450 children who are orphans or otherwise vulnerable as a result of HIV/AIDS. She also helped Namibia’s Legal Assistance Center and lawyers and judges from across southern Africa overhaul Namibia’s child care and protection laws.
· Law student Andrea L. Johnson at Columbia Law School in New York City is a recipient of an honorable mention prize for organizing a “spring break pro bono caravan” of law students to assist attorneys in rural northern Wisconsin in helping Native American clients draft wills that comply with unique Indian estate planning laws.
· Loyola University School of Law in Chicago is a recipient of an honorable mention award for the pro bono work done through its Life After Innocence program, which seeks to help innocent people after they have been exonerated by the justice system.
· Michigan State University College of Law in East Lansing is a recipient of an honorable mention award for work performed by law students involved in its Law Clinic, which consists of eight separate programs. Law students worked on a variety of issues, including immigration/human trafficking, First Amendment, housing and child advocacy. Also in 2011, the law clinic added a mobile unit to help provide services to disadvantaged people who are unable to drive to East Lansing for consultation.
· Davis, Polk & Wardwell, LLP, in New York is a recipient of an honorable mention award for the firm’s pro bono efforts in 2011, which involved significant work on criminal justice matters, including wrongful conviction, death penalty and access to justice cases. The firm's pro bono program includes projects ranging from helping to establish a homeless shelter through corporate guidance, to the representation of battered women, veterans, Holocaust survivors and persecuted individuals seeking asylum.
· Klee, Tuchin, Bogdanoff & Stern, LLP, in Los Angeles is a recipient of an honorable mention award for the firm’s work on behalf of a lawfully married same-sex couple denied the right to file a joint bankruptcy petition by the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The firm’s work resulted in an opinion signed by twenty California bankruptcy judges declaring the law unconstitutional, and a new federal policy of not challenging joint bankruptcy petitions filed by lawfully married couples anywhere in the United States.
To learn more about the Super Lawyers Pro Bono Award, visit http://www.superlawyers.com/about/probono_award.html.
Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process is multiphasic and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.
The Super Lawyers lists are published in Super Lawyers magazines and in leading city and regional magazines across the country. Super Lawyers magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law. For more information, go to superlawyers.com.
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