California Bar Journal
CBJ - October 2009 #07.
Best in legal services are honored
California Bar JournalOctober 2009Best in legal services are honoredNine clients, all single mothers seeking guardianship of neglected or abandoned children they had taken into their homes, were able to file petitions with the court. A woman cut off from the grandchild she cared for over many years obtained a visitation order. A 15-year-old girl in a relationship with an abusive 17-year-old boyfriend obtained a permanent restraining order for three years as well as an order to record unlawful communications. Each client has limited means and was vulnerable. Each was helped through the free efforts of a California attorney.
Those lawyers and their law firms received a 2009 State Bar President's Pro Bono Service Award last month. Created in 1983, the award is presented each year to California attorneys and law firms credited with making significant contributions in pro bono legal services to those with little income, as well as to organizations that serve the poor.
"Now more than ever, public service-minded California lawyers are needed to bridge the 'Justice Gap,'" said former President Holly Fujie. "This year, the bar honors extraordinary attorneys who have helped to do so by giving their time, talent and passion to those who otherwise could not afford legal services. They come from different practice settings but what unites them is their commitment to championing a fair and accessible justice system."
The 2009 award recipients are:
LARGE LAW FIRM
COOLEY GODWARD KRONISH LLP, PALO ALTO
Attorneys at Cooley Godward Kronish LLP are encouraged to contribute at least 60 pro bono hours per year, a goal surpassed in five of the last six years. The firm has a full-time pro bono partner, Maureen Alger. Statewide, the firm's lawyers donated nearly 30,000 pro bono hours last year.
The Palo Alto office's contribution to those statistics is impressive - more than half the lawyers donated more than 13,000 hours of pro bono time last year to cases ranging from domestic violence to immigration to guardianship, time worth millions of dollars.
Many of those hours were devoted to the Domestic Violence Collaborative, where low-income clients can get help with permanent restraining orders, as well as custody, visitation and support orders. Cooley lawyers...