The Pro Bono Committee of Legal Aid’s Board of Directors selects those to honor each year, with the advice of Legal Aid’s Volunteer Lawyers Program staff.
The Legacy of Justice Award is presented to an individual, group or institution whose participation in pro bono efforts has been significant in terms of tenure and impact. The 2016 winners are:
Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel (NEO ACC): NEO ACC has been a vital and committed partner since the inception of the neighborhood advice clinics. For the past several years under the leadership of Cynthia Binns, NEO ACC has enhanced the staffing of its Clinic during National Pro Bono Week with a donation drive of food, clothing and gifts for children for the host center. NEO ACC is a model of concerned corporate citizenship.
John Kirn: In January 2002, having retired from corporate practice, John Kirn approached Legal Aid asking how he could help. John continues to be an integral part of the Legal Aid team. John steps up wherever and whenever he is needed. In the last 18 months alone John has provided 470 hours of service. John’s commitment and dedication for almost 15 years make him a fitting and worthy recipient of the 2016 Legacy of Justice Award.
The Access to Justice Award is presented in recognition of significant contribution to advancing the mission of Legal Aid through pro bono commitment. This recognition is informed by number of hours/ cases/ clinics. In 2016, the proud awardees are:
Patrick McGraw: Mr. McGraw is a retired attorney who continues to use his legal talents to help low income individuals. A Harvard Law School graduate, Pat has been a pro bono volunteer for many years for both the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s Homeless Legal Assistance Program and Legal Aid’s Volunteer Lawyers Program. Pat acts as a one-person brief advice clinic going to three different sites monthly to provide assistance. Pat focuses his work at two sites serving veterans and a site serving the near west side. Pat has contributed over 125 pro bono hours and staffed 30 brief advice clinics in the past eighteen months. He is also serving as a member of the Advisory Council of the ACT 2 Program for Legal Aid.
Elizabeth Hendricks: In 2016, Ms. Hendricks contributed 277 pro bono hours as an in-house volunteer at Legal Aid. Elizabeth volunteered in Legal Aid’s public benefits practice. She did the bulk of the work on two cases, which Legal Aid won for its clients. Elizabeth is an attorney with health care law experience and extensive nursing experience at nationally recognized health care institutions.
The Community Impact Award is given to individual(s), firm(s), group(s) or other volunteer(s) who have made a mark for outstanding participation, effort, or critical involvement that ensured success for a client, client community, project etc. The 2016 winners are:
Women in Law Section of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association: Under the leadership of Rebecca Bennett, the Women in the Law Section and the work of the Lawyers for Women in Crisis initiative impacts a community of individuals who are struggling to overcome significant issues. This group of attorneys staffs monthly legal clinics at a shelter for homeless women and children. Attorneys in the initiative have expanded service to provide advice on civil issues to individuals participating in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Drug Court.
Luke Lindberg and Ryan Ellis: Luke and Ryan have been instrumental in the success of the new Ashtabula County Community Outreach Clinic. The Clinic addresses the need for increased outreach and service to an underserved population. Luke and Ryan responded to the need by serving as the pro bono staff of the monthly clinic.
Lorain County Bar Association: Through a partnership with Oberlin Community Services, the Lorain County Community Outreach Clinic provides access to legal services for individuals throughout Lorain County with a focus on the county’s southern segment. The Lorain County Bar Association answered the call for help staffing the clinic by reaching out to its membership to provide assistance on a rotating basis. Volunteers recruited by the LCBA increase access to justice in Lorain County through their pro bono involvement at the Outreach Clinic.