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Nominations open for State Bar awards

Many lawyers devote their entire legal careers to delivering services to California’s poor, and many do so with little or no compensation or even acknowledgment.

But once a year, the State Bar of California honors these dedicated attorneys with the President’s Pro Bono Service Awards and the Loren Miller Legal Services Award. It’s not too early to submit nominations for the awards before the March 17 deadline. If a past nominee did not win in a previous year, their name can also be submitted again.

President’s Pro Bono Service Awards

Diversity and Education Pipeline Awards
Attorneys, law firms, bar associations and others who promote diversity and exemplary legal training can also be nominated for the Diversity and Education Pipeline Awards. Nomination forms and information about past winners are available on the State Bar website. For more information, contact Patricia Lee at 415-538-2240 or patricia.lee@calbar.ca.gov. Email or send completed forms by the March 31 deadline to:

                          Patricia Lee
                          State Bar of California
                          180 Howard St. 10th Floor
                          San Francisco CA 94105
Bar members and law students who performed extraordinary pro bono service during 2013 are eligible to receive the President’s Pro Bono Service Awards.

Eligible nominees include individual California attorneys (solo, recently admitted, limited active practice, government, law firm, corporate and law school faculty), California law firms or the California offices of national and international law firms, associations of California lawyers, law schools accredited by the American Bar Association or the State Bar and law students (provided the student did not receive compensation or academic credit for the work).

The work must be legal work, not civic or public service. Building houses or serving meals in a soup kitchen would not qualify.

If a previous nominee did not win and if their pro bono service in 2013 was significant, consider nominating that individual, firm, team, association or law school again. You can also nominate yourself if you believe your contributions are noteworthy.

Nominations for outstanding pro bono contributions made by individuals based in rural and nonurban areas are highly encouraged.

Loren Miller Legal Services Award

Each year, only one person is recognized for the Loren Miller Legal Services Award, which honors a lifetime of commitment to justice and extending legal services to the poor. Past recipients of this prestigious award include senior staff attorneys, executive directors and directors of litigation of legal services programs, as well as private bar attorneys. It also honors long-standing dedication to legal services and breadth of service.

If you have questions about resubmitting a previous nomination for either award, contact the State Bar Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services (SCDLS) representatives named below. You can also visit the State Bar website to view past winners.

Guidelines and instructions for the Loren Miller Award and Pro Bono Awards are on the State Bar’s website and on the nomination forms for each award. Nominations will only be accepted electronically.

The 2014 awards will be presented at a reception during the State Bar Annual Meeting in San Diego in September. If you have any questions about the awards, please contact Laura Smolowe, awards chairwoman for the SCDLS, at laura.smolowe@mto.com, or Sharon Ngim, the SCDLS staff liaison, at sharon.ngim@calbar.ca.gov or 415-538-2267.