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Who Won the ABA's Pro Bono Publico Awards?

A pair of Texas lawyers and a trio of law firms providing humanitarian aid are among the 2022 winners of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Pro Bono Publico Award, given each year to lawyers, law firms and legal institutions serving the nation’s disadvantaged and poor.

This year’s winners are:

  • Maddy Dwertman, senior associate at Baker Botts LLP in Austin
  • Mark Melton, partner at Holland & Knight LLP in Dallas
  • Law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
  • Law firm Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP
  • Law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

“These services are of critical importance to the increasing number of people in this country living in a state of poverty who need legal representation to improve their lives,” notes the trade group.

The awardees will be honored at the ABA annual meeting set to take place between Wednesday, Aug. 3 and Thursday, Aug. 9, in Chicago. A presentation for the winners will take place Friday, Aug. 5 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. CST.

“Since 2018, Dwertman has provided volunteer pro bono services for American Gateways, a central Texas nonprofit whose mission is to champion the dignity and human rights of immigrants, refugees and survivors of persecution, torture, conflict and human trafficking,” according to the ABA. “In the past [two and a half] years alone, Dwertman has donated more than 865 pro bono hours, 320 of them during the pandemic year of 2021.”

According to her nominating paperwork, Dwertman was credited as being “a tireless pro bono advocate … [who] has had immense positive impact on the low-income communities that American Gateways serves.”

From Twitter

Community Legal Aid @Cmty_Legal_Aid May 31

"The 2021 Annual Report, new Pro Bono opportunities, the Worcester office move, and more! Community Legal Aid’s May Newsletter is OUT NOW! https://communitylegal.org/justice-matters-community-legal-aid-news-may-2022/"

Melton was recognized for his work setting up a new non-profit that has aided more than 10,000 Dallas tenants over the last two years. “When COVID-19 first began, Melton realized evictions would be a major issue during the pandemic. He recruited more than 250 Dallas lawyers to help tenants navigate the complex legal process of eviction. Under Melton’s leadership, and after more than 2,500 hours of his own pro bono work, the ad hoc, pro bono project has grown into a nonprofit called the Dallas Eviction Advocacy Center,” according to the ABA.

From Twitter

Pryor Cashman @PryorCashman

"The @ABAesq Pro Bono Exchange featured Jamie Brickell, a partner in Pryor Cashman’s #Litigation Group, and the firm’s #ProBono work on behalf of the Pancreatic Cancer Early Detection Consortium (@PrecedeStudy) at @nyulangone https://www.pryorcashman.com/news/aba-spotlights-pryor-cashman-pro-bono-efforts-for-precede"

According to the announcement, Akin Gump was recognized for, among other things, its work with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals applicants and Afghans seeking humanitarian parole.

Additionally, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP was also recognized for its work with Afghans through the creation of the Afghanistan Refugee Assistance Task Force as well as its prolific disaster relief efforts and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati was recognized for its work with both Afghan and Ukrainian refugees.

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