When people think of lawyers, they don’t often think of generous contributors to the community, using their skills and legal knowledge to benefit people in need who can’t afford to hire a lawyer. But every year, the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada Pro Bono Project holds a luncheon to recognize people who do just that.
Each of these attorneys, and law firms, have donated their time and talents to help clients who might otherwise have to navigate the civil justice system on their own, which for most of us would be a daunting prospect. Each hour and every case represents time spent promoting access to the justice system.
This year, Hutchison & Steffen partner Patricia Lee was named Pro Bono Attorney of the Year. Lee primarily practices in business and commercial litigation. This year, she donated 195 hours of pro bono work, as well as leading an effort to get her firm to donate about 800 pro bono hours total. The primary focus of that work was on assisting victims of domestic violence in Family Court.
Lee is one reason why Hutchison & Steffen won the Lied Award for most pro bono cases for a law firm at 47. (The firm was co-founded by newly elected state Sen. Mark Hutchison back in 1996.) The firm of Snell & Wilmer won the Lied Award for most pro bono hours donated by a law firm, at 1,167. Cynthia L. Alexander, a partner at Snell & Wilmer, got the Lied Award for most pro bono hours for an individual attorney, at 295. And Israel “Ishi” Kunin, owner of the Kunin & Carman firm, won the Lied Award for most pro bono cases for an individual attorney, at 27.
Here are the other winners of Pro Bono Project awards:
Small Law Firm of the Year: The Dickerson Law Group
Access to Justice Award: Marquis Aurbach Coffing
Pro Bono Award of Excellence: Gordon Silver
Justice Nancy Becker Pro Bono Award of Judicial Excellence (for a member of the judiciary who gives time and influence to encourage pro bono work): Judge Betsy Gonzales.
Vince A. Consul Memorial Pro Bono Award (named for a longtime access-to-justice advocate and awarded for devoting time to help clients in a civil case): Patricia A. Trent
Louis Wiener Service Award (for representing victims of domestic violence): Corinne M. Price
Myrna Williams Children’s Pro Bono Award (for volunteers representing children who are the victims of abuse or neglect): John Krieger
Public Interest Law Student of Distinction (for community commitment and promoting access to justice): Alexandra Varela
Ask-A-Lawyer Community Commitment Award (for tremendous commitment to the weekly Ask-A-Lawyer program): Jenica D. Yurcic Westerman
Volunteer Surrogate Award (for helping a child with special education needs): Bill Kissam
In addition, 30 lawyers were inducted into the 100 Hours Club, for giving that many hours of their time for free to clients. They are: Cynthia L. Alexander, Justin R. Cochran, A. Maria Maskall, Elizabeth S. Ashley, April L. Becker, Robert J. Caldwell, Laura A. Deeter, Robert P. Dickerson, Puneet K. Garg, Tanya S. Gaylord, Michelle A. Hauser, James J. Jimmerson, John L. Krieger, Israel “Ishi” Kunin, Patricia Lee, Kathleen M. Maynard, Andrew D. Moore, Jennifer E. Mullen, Leslie M. Nino, Corinne M. Price, R. Christopher Reade, Jenny L. Routheaux, Quinton R. Singleton, Jacqueline M. Stoops, Cassie R. Stratford, Jessica S. Taylor, Phillip C. Thompson, Marshal S. Willick, Shannon R. Wilson, and Shane J. Young.
So, next time you think of lawyers, remember these good ones, without whom the civil justice system wouldn’t work as well for a lot of people.