Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, August 11, 2008


Page 3


State Bar to Recognize Local Attorneys for Pro Bono Work


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The State Bar of California said Friday that six local law firms and practitioners will receive the State Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Awards.

The awards will be presented at next month’s State Bar Annual Meeting in Monterey.

Outgoing State Bar President Jeff Bleich said the awards “reflect the very best of our profession in every sector,” and praised the awardees for “doing the greatest thing a lawyer can do,” by giving a “voice and a chance at justice to those who would otherwise go unheard.”

The Los Angeles offices of Howrey LLP, Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP, and Morrison & Foerster LLP are being recognized for donating the services of 11 attorneys for nearly 1,000 hours to defend four HIV-positive detainees being held at the federal San Pedro Detention Center on Terminal Island for immigration or asylum proceedings and ensure the detainees received the medical care they needed, the State Bar said in a release.

Los Angeles attorney Ajay A. Patel, the pro bono chair for the Southern California chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel. is being recognized for helping to launch a program in conjunction with the University of Southern California Law School and the Los Angeles Unified School District teaching inner-city eighth graders about the law.

In collaboration with Public Counsel, a public interest law firm, Patel also recruited and trained attorneys to participate in a program assisting over 20 families in finalizing uncontested adoptions, the release said, and he volunteered 20 hours of his time to serve a foster family client as well.

The seven-member family law firm of Bennett & Erdman is being recognized for donating hundreds of pro bono hours to serve the lesbian and gay community and aiding lesbian and gay clients in obtaining custody or visitation of children who were adopted or carried by the clients’ former partners.

The other honorees are Kimberly K. Shean of the Ventura County Juvenile Probation Agency, San Diego attorney Kenneth S. Klein of Foley & Lardner LLP, the Sacramento, San Francisco and two Silicon Valley offices of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, Sacramento attorney Joseph A. Montoya, San Francisco attorney Benjamin Kuhm and Westlake Village sole practitioner Josef M. Dion.

The President’s Pro Bono Service Awards were established in 1983 by the State Bar Board of Governors. Nominations are reviewed by the State Bar Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services, which provides recommendations to the Board of Governors.


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