November 8, 2013
Pro Bono Celebration 2013
Volunteers lauded for extraordinary service
The Legal Aid Society of Columbus, the Columbus Bar and Foundation expressed their gratitude to the hundreds of attorneys, paralegals, and law students who contribute their time to LASC by volunteering in its office, attending its brief advice clinics, or accepting pro bono cases from its program. Although each volunteer deserves acknowledgement for his or her contribution, this year LASC presented their awards to four outstanding attorneys who serve as examples of the excellent contributions of the private bar.
RICHARD BROOKS of Bailey Cavalieri was selected for the Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award. Brooks contributed countless hours to the Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic and Volunteer Resource Center Housing and Consumer projects. He also inspires pro bono participation in others by serving as his firm's Pro Bono coordinator and the chair of the Columbus Bar Pro Bono Committee.
JAMES PARK received LASC's "In The Trenches" Pro Bono Award in acknowledgement of his exceptional involvement in the Bankruptcy Pro Bono Projects, including his unparalleled participation in the Chapter 7 referral project and his integral support for the Bankruptcy Bypass Clinics, which aim to cease creditor harassment for uncollectable clients.
Attorneys who participate in LASC-sponsored brief advice clinics provide enormous benefits for low-income individuals seeking answers to their legal questions. Attorneys HOWARD BAUMWELL and MARK FISHER were recognized for their volunteer work with the Broad Street United Methodist Clinic. They exhibited remarkable reliability, faithfully attending the monthly clinics and meeting a great need in the community.
U.S. District Court Judge Edmund Sargus thanked all the volunteers for their selfless commitment to providing legal assistance to the poor and congratulated the award recipients. In the last five years, LASC has lost more than 40% of its staff. Primary funding comes from the interest generated from IOLTA. With the economic downturn, resources have dwindled for this nonprofit charged with meeting the civil legal needs of the poor. At the same time that resources declined, the number of people eligible for legal services nationwide rose 35% – resulting in a perfect storm for access to justice.
Pictured, left to right: Foundation President Robert Meyer, James Park, Mark Fisher, Richard Brooks, Howard Baumwell, CBA President-Elect Keith Schneider, the Hon. Edmund Sargus.