Judges Honor and Thank Volunteers Who Represent Federal Court Litigants Pro Bono

The Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) is pleased to recognize the volunteers of the Federal Pro Bono Project, which arranges pro bono counsel for pro se litigants in federal court. In February, the Northern District Court of California and JDC held a reception honoring the many attorneys and law firms who worked with the project last year.

Thanks to our volunteers’ enthusiasm and dedication, the project was able to place 38 cases in 2014, and had 63 cases active throughout the year. Volunteers lent their expertise in a diverse range of legal issues, from prisoner civil rights and personal injury to disability law and copyright infringement.

Chief District Judge Phyllis Hamilton gave introductory remarks, highlighting the range of the cases placed and the success achieved for many of the project’s litigants. Nixon Peabody was recognized for representing a woman with a medical malpractice claim against the Veterans Administration. Though she had a meritorious claim, she was struggling to represent herself adequately. With Nixon Peabody’s assistance at mediation, the litigant was able to achieve a $150,000 settlement.

Becki Graham of Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart shared her personal experience volunteering in a civil rights case that went to trial.

District Judge Edward Chen gave closing remarks at the reception, and recognized four firms who took on three or more pro bono cases in 2014: Bryan Cave; Fenwick & West; Latham & Watkins; and Morrison & Foerster.

Thank you to these firms, and to all of the project’s 2014 volunteers.

To find out more about the Federal Pro Bono Project and sign up for our email list, email Project Coordinator Lilly Dagdigian at ldagdigian@sfbar.org.