California Bar Journal
CBJ - September 2012 #04.
Nine garner President's Pro Bono Service Awards
The California LawyerSeptember 2012Nine garner President's Pro Bono Service Awards A deputy state public defender who spent thousands of hours of personal time to help free an innocent man in prison for murder. An attorney who learned the ropes of bankruptcy court to help a family in danger of losing their home. Lawyers who took time out of busy practices to provide legal help to victims of rape and other crimes.
These are just a few snapshots of the nine recipients of the 2012 President's Pro Bono Service Awards, which recognize California attorneys, law firms and law students who go above and beyond to provide free legal services to those who cannot afford them.
"The privilege of holding a law license carries with it many ethical responsibilities, including pro bono service to those who cannot afford legal representation," said State Bar President Jon Streeter, who will present the awards at the Annual Meeting in October. "The outstanding winners of the State Bar's 2012 President's Pro Bono Service awards have shown, by their example, the highest and best standard of law practice. They are an inspiration to us all."
There's no shortage of inspiration in the story of deputy state public defender Ellen Jane Eggers and her efforts to help Franky Carrillo, arrested at 16 and serving two life sentences for a drive-by murder he did not commit. Convinced of Carrillo's innocence but unable to be appointed to represent him because his was not a capital case, Eggers lobbied other attorneys to represent him and eventually convinced her bosses to let her work on his case on her own time. Eggers spent exhausting weekends, evenings and vacations working with a crime scene reconstruction expert and traveling the state to prove her client's innocence. After a four-year effort, he was released from prison in 2011.
"Ellen found me in a place commonly referred to by prisoners and guards as the 'end of the road': Old Folsom State Prison," Carrillo wrote in a letter supporting Eggers' nomination. "At the time I met Ellen, I was losing faith that anyone would ever find me, but thank God I held on for a little bit longer."
In 2011, partners, counsel and associates in Snell and Wilmer's Orange County Office devoted more than 3,100 pro...