Faegre Baker Daniels will receive a prestigious national pro bono award for its commitment to enhancing the human dignity of others through free legal services.
Once a year, the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service presents five Pro Bono Publico Awards to individual lawyers and institutions in the legal profession that demonstrate outstanding commitment to volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged.
Faegre Baker Daniels is one of two firms to receive the national award in 2019.
“We are proud of FaegreBD’s pro bono commitment and our firm’s professionals who give their time to help low-income and other vulnerable people in the communities we serve,” said Tom Froehle, FaegreBD chair and managing partner.
“Pro bono service is one of our core values and we appreciate receiving the Pro Bono Publico Award as recognition for the important work our firm has done and will continue to do to advance access to justice,” Froehle said.
Organizations nominated and selected for the award must showcase their collective and outstanding contribution to one or more criteria, including dedication to the development and delivery of legal services to persons of limited means or low-income communities through a pro bono program.
Recipients must also show they have contributed significant work toward developing innovative approaches to delivery of volunteer legal services; participated in an activity that resulted in satisfying previously unmet needs or in extending services to underserved segments of the population; successfully litigated pro bono cases that favorably affected the provision of other services to persons of limited means or low-income communities; and successfully achieved legislation that contributed substantially to legal services to persons of limited means or low-income communities.
Indiana attorneys at FaegreBD’s Indianapolis and Fort Wayne offices have contributed significantly to the firm-wide recognition, said Indianapolis managing partner Kathy Osborn. Only one other Hoosier attorney has received the award — Fort Wayne attorney J. Philip Burt of the Burt Blee law firm in 2005 — and no other Indiana law firm has received the award since its 1984 inception, according to the ABA.
“For me it’s exciting to recognize that the firm is a leader in the pro bono area in the nation because pro bono is something so near and dear to my heart,” said Indianapolis Faegre associate Jacqueline Pimentel-Gannon. “The fact that the firm evidently values and supports it, so much so that we would be recognized with an award, is very heartening and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Pimentel-Gannon primarily offers pro bono services in the areas of immigration, guardianships and end-of-life documents. Making time for those in need through pro bono work is something personally important to her, she said, so she’s glad to be a part of the 79 percent of Faegre lawyers firmwide who participate in pro bono efforts.
“So many attorneys do it that it’s a part of the culture,” she noted. “It’s remarkable to me.”
Indianapolis partner Andrew Soshnick, who serves on the pro bono advisory committee and has worked with Faegre for more than 30 years, agreed. He said the firm has upped its pro bono game across all its offices, providing a wide array of opportunities to its attorneys.
Although the recognition is nice, Soshnick said receiving the pro bono award is more about the good work being done and less about putting a spotlight on the firm.
“It’s nice to be recognized, but it’s nice to recognize the people it’s helped,” he said. “Those of us who have done pro bono for our entire careers — that’s what it’s all about.”
The award will be presented at the ABA’s annual meeting Aug. 10 in San Francisco.