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Deborah Coleman, receives ABA’s Pro Bono Publico Award

Posted January 14, 2019
10:28 am

Deborah Coleman, of Coleman Law LLC, was awarded the American Bar Association’s Pro Bono Publico Award August 4 at the American Bar Association’s annual meeting in Chicago for her outstanding dedication to volunteering with The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.

Coleman, who specializes in conflict resolution as a mediator and arbitrator in her private practice, has a long history of pro bono work with Legal Aid and other groups, logging more than 340 hours representing Legal Aid clients and providing advice at Legal Aid’s brief advice clinics in the last five years.

She has also been a leader in drawing other attorneys to volunteer with Legal Aid, serving as chair of the ACT 2 Advisory Committee. Legal Aid’s ACT 2 program engages retired and late-career attorneys in pro bono work. Deborah also serves on Legal Aid’s Board of Directors Pro Bono Committee.

“I have admired her holistic commitment to volunteering first hand for more than 15 years,” said Ann McGowan Porath, Managing Attorney for Legal Aid’s Volunteer Lawyers Program. “Deborah is one of our ‘go-to attorneys’ for the difficult and hard to place matters. She does not hesitate to step up to help.”

The Pro Bono Publico Awards are the top honors given by the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, which over the years has spotlighted pro bono efforts of individual lawyers and small and large law firms, government attorney offices, corporate law departments and other institutions in the legal profession.

Porath says the honor is well-deserved, as Coleman combines her legal skills with compassion and individual concern for every client – many whose legal problems are complicated by the emotional weight of an impending eviction or foreclosure, loss of income, or unfair debts practices.

The Shaker Heights resident was one of five national recipients of the award, which honors lawyers, law firms, law schools and other institutions in the legal profession that have enhanced the human dignity of others by improving volunteer legal services for the poor, according to the ABA’s website.

“The notion is that for people who have been working in business practices, which I did for decades, this is a second act in our legal careers,” Coleman said, adding that ACT 2 is “a small step toward helping meet the legal needs of people who can’t afford lawyers.”

Are you a late career or retired attorney?  Join Deborah Coleman and others in Legal Aid’s ACT 2 program: visit to learn more.