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Pro bono group calls for award nominations

By Psyche Pascual
Staff Writer

The Nobel Foundation has its prizes. The movie industry has the Oscars, and the State Bar of California features awards for its own standout pro bono performers: the President’s Pro Bono and the Loren Miller Legal Services awards.

Award season is not until next fall, but it’s not too early to think about nominating someone who’s done exceptional pro bono work this year, according to the State Bar Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services. The committee is sending out early notices calling for nominations for both awards.

Both awards recognize extraordinary service to low-income Californians and will be delivered to recipients at the bar’s Annual Meeting, to be held Oct. 8 - 11 in Anaheim.

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 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

Guidelines and applications for the President’s Pro Bono Awards and the Loren Miller Legal Services Award are on the State Bar website. All awards nominations must be received by March 16.

Loren Miller Legal Services Award

The Loren Miller Legal Services Award is a lifetime achievement tribute that honors those who have a long history of giving legal services to the poor. Named after the late Loren Miller, an African American lawyer and judge who was a leader in the civil rights movement, the award’s past winners include tenants rights’ advocate Melinda Bird and UCLA Law professor Gary Blasi.

President’s Pro Bono Service awards

The committee also gives up to nine Pro Bono Service awards each year to members of the bar, law firms, organizations and law students who gave extraordinary pro bono service during 2014.

To be eligible, nominees must be California attorneys or belong to a team of California lawyers. Nominees can be a solo, recently admitted, limited active practice, government, law firm, corporate or law school faculty attorney.

You can also nominate law firms or the local offices of national and international law firms based in California, associations of California lawyers, law schools accredited by the American Bar Association or the State Bar or those studying law in California (provided they did not receive compensation or academic credit for the work).

Pro bono work must involve legal work, but not include unrelated civic or public service, such as working in a soup kitchen or building a house for a homeless person. You can also nominate yourself or others who have been nominated and not won in previous years.

For questions about either award, contact Andrea Fitanides, awards chair for the Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services, at, or Sharon Ngim, SCDLS staff liaison, at