|In recognition of the substantial free legal assistance provided by
California lawyers to people least able to afford it, the State Bar of California
announced the names of 13 attorneys and two law firms as recipients of the 1998
President's Pro Bono Service Awards.
Outgoing State Bar President Marc Adelman,
presenter of the awards at the bar's annual meeting, said "it is an honor to
celebrate the contributions of these attorney volunteers. They have gone the extra mile to
make a difference in the lives of people who would never be able to afford the legal help
"These lawyers are heroes in every sense of the word," Adelman added.
The prestigious awards were created by the bar 15 years ago to applaud the volunteer
legal efforts of individual lawyers and law firms to deliver legal services to the poor.
The recipients are:
Andrew Holcombe of Chico has dedicated a
significant portion of his practice to pro bono work. He has volunteered more than 300
hours providing legal services to indigent individuals served by Legal Services of
Northern California and the Independent Living Center, both of which nominated him for the
award. He also offered legal advice to the Community Housing Improvement Program and
Catalyst, a women's advocate group.
J. Kevin Mendricks of Sacramento provided
family law services to 59 clients through Volunteer Legal Service Program (VLSP) of
Sacra-mento during 1997. In addition to the pro bono client work, he gave significant time
assisting in the daily administrative operation of VLSP. His work at the organization
involves client interviews, case analysis and referrals. VLSP nominated Mendricks for the
pro bono award.
Carol Federighi of Oakland volunteered
two days a week at Legal Services for Seniors during 1997, providing assistance with
issues such as elder abuse, long-term health care and grandparent guardianships. She also
volunteered at the Alameda County bar's legal services program where she focused on family
law referrals. Leaders of both organizations nominated her for the State Bar award.
Barbara Bergstrom and
Sally Anne Campbell of San Francisco, working as volunteers at the Bar
Association of San Francisco's (BASF) Homeless Assistance Project, sought disability
benefits for the homeless mentally ill. They put in many hours training and mentoring
other attorneys who worked on SSI appeals following the implementation of welfare reform.
Both attorneys have staffed many of BASF's bi-monthly Legal Clinics. They were nominated
by the Homeless Advocacy Project for devoting more than 200 hours on behalf of the
Jack Daniel of Fresno has a long history
of providing services to some of California's most underserved communities. He volunteered
extensively for prisoners' rights and created a legal intake program for the local
African-American community. He has litigated more than 20 cases regarding prisoners'
rights, including a substantial class action matter which affected the lives of poor women
incarcerated in state facilities. He was nominated by Central California Legal Services
and Legal Services for Prisoners With Children.
James R. Nichols of Santa
Barbara, a longtime pro bono volunteer, in one case contributed nearly 200 hours of free
legal assistance in a criminal appeals matter involving espionage. He also assisted a
group of Santa Barbara residents in an environmental law case; that pro bono activity
totaled 500 hours. Nichols was nominated by the Santa Barbara Bar Association for his more
than 700 hours of pro bono work.
Gloria Cordova and
Kristine Reiser of Diamond Bar accepted and completed 17 pro bono and two
reduced-fee family law matters for the Legal Services Program for Pasadena and San
Gabriel-Pomona. Many clients needed emergency restraining orders to prevent violence or
removal of children from the court's jurisdiction. Cordova and Reiser were nominated by
the Legal Services Program staff for providing 264 pro bono hours.
Jeanne Thomas of Santa Ana
assisted more than 20 clients through the Public Law Center in 1997. Many of her
cases--which focused on family law, child custody and child support issues--were extremely
complex, requiring extraordinary preparation and multiple court appearances. She also
serves on the board of the Orange County Women Lawyers which, together with the Public Law
Center, nominated her for the award. She gave more than 200 volunteer hours.
Peggy Dolan of El Cajon donated
more than 230 hours in 1997 managing the day-to-day operations of the San Diego County
Bar's domestic violence prevention project. She gave client assistance, recruited, trained
and mentored other volunteers, and coordinated services with other domestic violence
programs. A domestic violence survivor herself, Dolan focuses in the area of family law.
She was nominated by the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program.
Morrison & Foerster, San
Francisco, with more than 33,000 hours of pro bono service, ranks among the highest
performers ever to be nominated for the President's Pro Bono Service Award. The firm
provided general pro bono assistance with special work in the past year on children's SSI
issues, eviction defense work and children's rights services. The firm was nominated by
the Bar Associ-ation of San Francisco's pro bono program.
Procopio Cory Hargreaves & Savitch,
San Diego, has a rich tradition of pro bono services, providing thousands of hours of
assistance during the past decade. Firm members helped establish the Legal Aid Society of
San Diego. Partner Gary Wright was a founder of the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program. In
1997, firm members tackled the needs of disabled children and people with AIDS and helped
provide financial support. They were nominated by SDVLP for volunteering more than 1,000
hours of legal work.
Sally Brown, a retired lawyer
from Oakland, provided 700 hours of legal assistance last year, primarily to seniors. She
visited four different senior centers each month to give legal information and general
advice. Brown deals regularly with issues of elder abuse and assists victim to seek
protective orders against abusive relatives. She also gives guidance to grandparent
caregivers charged with raising their own grandchildren. She was nominated by the Alameda
County Bar Association.
Wallace Friedman, a retired
attorney from Thousand Oaks, gives general civil legal assistance to clients of the Conejo
Free Clinic, which nominated him for the President's Pro Bono Services Award. At each
monthly clinic, he assists as many as 10 clients who lack funds to hire an attorney.