Monday, February 27, 2006

New Hampshire Bar honors pro bono lawyers

From the New Hampshire Bar Association web site:
ABA President Michael Greco was the featured speaker at the Midyear Meeting luncheon on Thurs., Feb. 16, and presented the L. Jonathan Ross Award for Outstanding Pro Bono service to Patrick T. Hayes of Lebanon, and to the Pro Bono Attorneys of the year for the counties and superior court districts: Belknap County - Elaine L. Baillargeon, Gilford; Carroll County - Charles L. Greenhalgh, North Conway; Cheshire County - Stephen B. Bragdon, Keene; Coos County - Wendy Roberts, Lancaster; Grafton County - Mary L. Wade, Lebanon; Hillsborough (North) County - Jennifer Rood, Manchester; Hillsborough (South) County - Gawryl & MacAllister, Nashua; Merrimack County - Orr & Reno, Concord; Merrimack County - Katherine Bucklin Stearns, New London; Rockingham County - Mark F. Sullivan, Exeter; Strafford County - Vicki Roundy, Dover; Sullivan County - Buckley & Zopf, Claremont.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

John Edwards, the pro bono lawyer?

Is John Edwards running for President with a pro bono plank in his platform? Look here. Wouldn't that be great?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

An army of pro bono supporters

Please send me any information you think is worthy of publication concerning pro bono lawyers, cases, causes, or clients you may know about. We need to help each other to draw attention to them. I'm thinking big here, and my hope is that we can form an army of similarly motivated persons committed to supporting those who serve the public good.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Biloxi video tells it all

Please watch this video, and I guarantee you will have a much better understanding of what happened and what is still going on in the Gulf Coast region following the devastation of Katrina.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Florida child advocate honored

Howard Talenfeld is the kind of lawyer I wish everyone knew about. He makes us all look good. Congratulations, Howard, on receiving this award for your tirelessly selfless work advocating for children:
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Feb. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Long-time child advocate and trial lawyer Howard Talenfeld has been selected to receive The Florida Bar President's Pro Bono Service Award for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, Broward County. The award acknowledges the years Talenfeld, 52, has spent helping -- and convincing others to help Florida's most vulnerable citizens -- its abused, foster, mentally ill and developmentally disabled children. "We selected Howard Talenfeld based on his outstanding pro bono work for Florida's Children First, the non-profit he helped found to provide Florida's foster children with a voice," says Frank Walker, Chair of the 17th Judicial Circuit Committee that selected the Broward recipient of the Florida Bar President's 2006 Pro Bono Service Award. "He continues to devote not only his time, but his incredible talent as a child advocate. We are proud to honor him and put forth his name to the Florida Supreme Court."
You can read the rest of the story here.

Hats off to Harvard

This is very cool. Harvard Law School under Dean Elena Kagan continues to impress me.

Fulbright pro bono switch up?

Here's another example of how pro bono service can be a win-win for big law firms and the communities they serve. This one, however, looks to me like pro bono assistance to the prosecutor's office. That's a good thing, mind you, but it does seem like overkill. If the County Attorney's office is understaffed, I can only imagine what the public defender's office must be like. Maybe I'm misreading this press release, which can be seen in full here. If so, I'd appreciate it if someone could straighten me out.
Fulbright's Minnesota Office Announces Attorney Loan Program with Ramsey County Attorney's Office MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 16, 2006--Fulbright & Jaworski's Minnesota office has launched an Attorney Loan Program between the law firm and Minnesota's Ramsey County Attorney's Office. The program involves Fulbright associates being loaned full-time on a pro bono basis to the Ramsey County Attorney's Office, which serves St. Paul and surrounding communities. In a program designed to give the next generation of trial lawyers intensive experience in trying cases, Fulbright & Jaworski's Attorney Loan Program loans associates to public law offices across the nation. The program with the Ramsey County Attorney's Office will give Fulbright's Minnesota attorneys the opportunity to try felony cases. It is the only known program of its type in Minnesota that allows loaned attorneys felony jury trial experience. Ramsey County is the second-most populous in Minnesota and has on average 3,200 adult felonies and over 4,000 juvenile cases per year.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Md. Attorneys Donate Time and Over $2.8 Million To Help State's Poor

The Maryland bar can be quite proud of its pro bono service record. Although the statistics in this article are from 2004, they evidence the kind of generosity and commitment that make lawyers everywhere look good.

In 2004, Maryland attorneys gave over 1.5 million hours in volunteer pro bono publico ("for the good of the public") legal services to help the state’s indigent population with its legal needs. In addition, attorneys in Maryland personally donated over $2.8 million in cash contributions to support legal services. Overall, 63.2 percent of Maryland’s in-state, full-time lawyers donated time to help those in need by volunteering for pro bono service.

The 2004 Current Status of Pro Bono Service Among Maryland Lawyers report, submitted by the Maryland Court of Appeals by the Administrative Office of the Courts reflects a comprehensive poll of Maryland’s 31,226 lawyers to determine the extent of indigents' need for legal services. In 2002, the Court began requiring Maryland attorneys to report their pro bono hours so it could assess volunteer legal services for the poor and direct resources to areas with the greatest need.

The 2004 report, the third in a series, indicates the number of attorneys donating their time to help the indigent through pro bono service continues to rise. The greatest need for civil legal services for Maryland’s poor continues to be in the area of family law, a law practice area lacking a sufficient number of attorneys to handle the need.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Innocence and the death penalty

The Death Penalty Information Center has a very informative website well worth the visit for anyone curious about the exactitude with which death sentences are meted out. By their count, since 1973 there have been 122 people in 25 states released from death row with evidence of their innocence. Florida leads the way with 21. Illinois is not far behind with 18. With statistics like these, can it be seriously argued that no innocent person has ever been executed? (See Power Line suggestion to this effect.) Again I ask, what is an acceptable rate of error in death penalty cases?

Charity Bank? Linklaters leads the way.

Global law firm Linklaters has provided pro bono assistance to Charity Bank, the world's first registered general charity and authorized bank, to create a new tier of capital to underpin its growth with the support of two of the UK's leading foundations. This is a great example of lawyers making a real difference in a deal structured for the common good. Lawfuel reports:

Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and Northern Rock Foundation have each subscribed £500,000 of 10 year subordinated convertible loan stock. The bank is paying 4% per annum for the funds. For the next five years this will count towards the capital Charity Bank needs to support its growing lending business. Documentation for this unique transaction was prepared on a pro bono basis by leading global law firm, Linklaters.

Chief Executive of Charity Bank, Malcolm Hayday, acknowledges that if community development finance is to move from the margin to the mainstream in the UK, it has to be adequately capitalised. "The ability to attract capital from socially motivated individuals, trusts and institutional investors is a major challenge for all of us," he added.

Ron Clarke, Finance Director of Esmee Fairbairn said that "the Foundation has been a long term supporter of Charity Bank and we are pleased to be able to extend our support." Fiona Ellis, Director of Northern Rock Foundation added "Charity Bank has offered the Foundation a welcome opportunity to invest some of our reserve in direct pursuit of our mission. We are delighted to be able to use our resources in as many ways as possible to help charitable organisations."

While such transactions are common place in the public and private financial markets, this is believed to be the first for a UK CDFI. There was no template documentation to show prospective investors but leading global law firm, Linklaters rose to the challenge. Linklaters capital markets partner, Jim Rice, was delighted to be able to bring his firm's knowledge of the markets and the regulatory environment to structure a deal for the common good. "We are very pleased to have been able to support this highly innovative capital transaction which will enable Charity Bank to extend finance to more social enterprises."

To find out more about Charity Bank visit or telephone 01732 774040.