Super Lawyers is excited to announce the eight recipients of the 2014 Super Lawyers Pro Bono Awards. The Awards honor legal professionals, students, schools and institutions that exemplify excellence in the practice of law through offering volunteer legal services to the poor, disadvantaged or exploited.
“We are privileged and humbled to recognize the recipients of this year’s Super Lawyers Pro Bono Awards for their outstanding pro bono legal efforts,” said Julie Gleason, Director of Research, Super Lawyers. “These eight award winners give a voice to the underrepresented through perseverance, hard work and continued encouragement for those in need.”
The 2014 Award recipients are:
GARY A. UDASHEN – Sorrels, Udashen & Anton, Dallas TX
Mr. Udashen, President of the Innocence Project of Texas, helped to obtain the exoneration and dismissal of charges against Rickey Wyatt, who served 27 years in prison for a sexual assault he did not commit. Rickey Wyatt is the tenth wrongfully convicted person Mr. Udashen has helped to exonerate and free from prison.
KATHLEEN C. GASPARIAN – Gasparian Immigration, New Orleans, LA
Ms. Gasparian spearheaded the creation of PB&J: Pro Bono to find, train, mentor and support attorneys willing to take on cases for immigrant children who have recently crossed the U.S. Southern border and who cannot afford legal services. The project has grown to a network of almost 200 volunteers, including attorneys, interpreters, government workers and judges.
LATHAM & WATKINS LLP – Firmwide
Over the past decade, close to 350 lawyers across Latham’s offices in the United States and Europe have helped Holocaust survivors secure over €1.7 million in lump-sum payments, with thousands more in ongoing monthly payments, from the German government for work performed during World War II.
DOUCET & ASSOCIATES CO., L.P.A. – Dublin, OH
Dedicated to giving back to the community, Troy Doucet, founder of the firm, decided to hire a full-time associate in 2014 to focus exclusively on pro bono matters. The lawyer helps people avoid eviction, recover deposits, enforce lease terms, and ensure tenants have a safe and habitable place to live.
ALISA FINELLI – Student at The University of Notre Dame Law School, Notre Dame, IN
A third year law student, Ms. Finelli, spent two months creating and developing a program connecting students with the Volunteer Lawyer Network (VLN) in St. Joseph County, Indiana and surrounding counties. The Volunteer Lawyer Network connects residents in Indiana with lawyers willing to volunteer their services. Currently, the program has increased its capacity by 50% due to Ms. Finelli’s efforts.
CALIFORNIA WESTERN SCHOOL OF LAW – California Innocence Project, San Diego, CA
The California Innocence Project is a law school clinic at California Western School of Law dedicated to freeing the innocent, training law students, and changing laws and policies in the state of California. Over the course of 2014, students worked approximately 7,280 hours culminating in the release of two wrongfully convicted prisoners.
SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW – Legal Clinics, St. Louis, MO
Following the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson in August 2014, the Saint Louis University School of Law Legal Clinics used the attention on the region to bring to light long-standing issues within the St. Louis County municipal court system. As a result of their advocacy, more than 60 municipalities participated in warrant forgiveness programs.
AMERICAN IMMIGRATION LAWYERS ASSOCIATION (AILA), Washington, D.C.
In August 2014, AILA created the Artesia Pro Bono Project to provide representation to immigrant families detained at a remote temporary detention center in Artesia, New Mexico. Because there were no legal service providers nearby, 10-12 attorneys per week traveled to Artesia to represent women and children via video hearing in immigration court.
Congratulations again to all our 2014 Super Lawyers Pro Bono Awards recipients. We invite you to read more about the winners here and watch for the Pro Bono Super Lawyers Digital Magazine coming out in May!