ABA Pro Bono Publico Awards Honor Four Lawyers, One Law Firm
CHICAGO, May 20, 2004 – Four lawyers and a law firm will receive the 2004 American Bar Association Pro Bono Publico Awards during the ABA Annual Meeting in Atlanta at a noon luncheon on Monday, Aug. 9, at the Georgia World Conference Center. ABA President Dennis W. Archer will host the Pro Bono Publico Awards Luncheon.
Receiving awards will be Roy E. Barnes, Atlanta; Stephen Cullen, Towson, Md.; Warren Sinsheimer, New York; Toby Hollander, Portland, Maine, who was selected as the recipient of the Ann Liechty Child Custody Pro Bono Award, a special award given to honor a lawyer who has provided outstanding pro bono legal service to children in custody cases; and the Washington, D.C., law firm Arnold & Porter.
The ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service established the awards in 1984 to recognize lawyers, law firms and other legal institutions for extraordinary or noteworthy contributions to extending free legal services to the poor and disadvantaged.
“The recipients of this year’s ABA Pro Bono Publico Awards exemplify excellence and dedication to providing legal services to the many people who are in need but are lacking in access,” said Debbie Segal, chair of the ABA committee. “Their creativity, energy and innovative approaches set an example for the entire legal profession. They deserve our highest commendation.”
A brief description of the recipients’ pro bono work follows:
* Roy E. Barnes, Atlanta, who at the end of his term as governor of Georgia served a six-month tenure as a volunteer staff lawyer for the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, exemplifying his long-time commitment to providing legal services to the poor. During his time with the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Barnes devoted himself to using his formidable litigation skills to help clients, particularly elderly and disabled victims of predatory lending practices. Beyond donating his legal services, he committed to sharing his considerable legal knowledge and experience by participating in ongoing training programs at Legal Aid, and he leveraged his excellent reputation among Atlanta’s lawyers to improve the delivery of legal services to low income people and to increase pro bono involvement throughout the city.
* Stephen Cullen, Towson, Md., who has dedicated himself to improving pro bono legal services for children caught in international custody disputes. His work has been particularly helpful to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and parents whose children have been abducted internationally, whom NCMEC assists. Cullen represents left-behind parents whose children have been abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, the United States. In the past five years, Cullen has worked on more than 45 international child abduction cases as a pro bono lawyer under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
* Toby H. Hollander, Portland, Maine, whose dedication to providing outstanding pro bono guardian ad litem services for Maine’s children caught in custody cases garnered him this year’s Ann Liechty Child Custody Pro Bono award. Hollander now focuses exclusively on providing guardian ad litem services, which he undertakes as a solo practitioner. Working through the Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project, Hollander has handled more than 50 pro bono guardian ad litem matters for children, including complex custody cases involving high conflict and domestic violence. In addition to donating his time and services, Hollander launched a brown bag lunch educational series for guardians ad litem where he leads discussions about the resources available to low-income children. He has also served as a mentor to other volunteer guardians ad litem.
* Warren Sinsheimer, New York, who after practicing law for nearly 50 years now volunteers as president and managing attorney of Legal Services for Children, Inc., an organization he established in 1999 to bring free civil legal services to disadvantaged New York children. Since opening its doors, LSC has provided pro bono legal representation to more than 2,500 children, most of whom had no other access to legal assistance. In addition to his leadership of LSC and pro bono work, Warren has recruited, trained and utilized more than a dozen retired and other no-longer-practicing lawyers who volunteer at LSC two to four days a week representing children in need.
* Arnold & Porter LLP, Washington, D.C., which has committed itself to setting a national example of law firm excellence in providing pro bono legal services. In addition to averaging more than 130 pro bono hours of legal services per lawyer at the firm, Arnold & Porter also established a number of innovative new pro bono programs in 2003, including criminal defense of the indigent, federal appellate advocacy, and a resource center for the D.C. Landlord Tenant Court. The firm also took on a number of new pro bono cases in a variety of areas such as discrimination against undocumented aliens, First Amendment issues, technology sharing among countries, assistance to the arts, medical services to minority communities, domestic security and human rights, and fighting HIV/AIDS discrimination.
For more information on the Pro Bono Publico Awards, contact Dorothy Jackson, ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Publico Service, at 312/988-5766.
The American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership association in the world. With more than 400,000 members, the ABA provides law school accreditation, continuing legal education, information about the law, programs to assist lawyers and judges in their work, and initiatives to improve the legal system for the public.