One lawyer helped adults who have overcome addictions and want to start a new life. Two took on the legal problems of the homeless. One fought for the right of the blind to have equal access to Social Security programs. Law firms assisted foster parents with reimbursement rates and low-income people on everything from unlawful detainer and debt collection to evictions and domestic violence. And all for free.
Such actions represent the commitment of the nine recipients of the State Bar's 2010 President's Pro Bono Service Awards, which recognize California attorneys, law firms and associations of California lawyers who contribute to the delivery of legal services to the poor and those who represent the poor. The awards were presented at the State Bar's Annual Meeting last month in Monterey.
"The recipients of the State Bar's 2010 President's Pro Bono Service Awards represent the very best of our legal profession," said former President Howard Miller. Noting that two-thirds of Californians who need legal services cannot afford them, Miller added, "Their only hope is that all California lawyers will follow the lead of these honorees and dedicate themselves to ensuring that our system serves not just paying clients but every Californian whose rights depend on the courts."
The 2010 Pro Bono award winners and their award categories are:
Deborah Jurgensen, Ventura - Solo Practitioner; Christina Brown, San Francisco - Newly Admitted; Thomas Theisen, San Diego - Limited Active Practice; Henry Su, East Palo Alto - Law Firm Individual; Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass LLP, San Francisco - Law Firm; Jones Day Advocate Team, Los Angeles - Law Firm Team; Morrison & Foerster, Palo Alto - Law Firm Team; California Western School Law, San Diego - Law School; South Asian Bar Association of Northern California Pro Bono Committee, San Francisco - Distinguished Pro Bono Service.