(Memphis, TN/June 2, 2008) Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, has recognized a number of attorneys throughout the Firm for their pro bono work.
Charles K. Grant was named the firm-wide 2008 Baker Donelson Pro Bono Attorney of the Year. A shareholder in the Nashville office of Baker Donelson, Mr. Grant was recognized for his pro bono service involving the restoration of voting rights for former felons. His efforts have included working with others to raise awareness of the disenfranchisement of former felons; to help educate former felons as to their eligibility to regain the right to vote; to file petitions with the courts for the restoration of voting rights; and to secure the enactment of legislation that has streamlined the process by which voting rights can be restored. Most recently, Mr. Grant worked with the ACLU in initiating a lawsuit on behalf of three former felons who completed their sentences but cannot have their voting rights restored because they owe child support or restitution; persons who are not former felons have no such obligations. For his pro bono service, Mr. Grant is a past recipient of the Nashville Bar Association Pro Bono Program Volunteer of the Year Award and the Tennessee State Conference NAACP President's Freedom Award. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands.
Baker Donelson also recognized attorneys in many of its individual offices for their pro bono efforts.
• Jonathan E. Green and Dylan W. Howard, Atlanta Pro Bono Attorneys of the Year: Both associates in the Atlanta office of Baker Donelson, Mr. Green and Mr. Howard, who normally represent lenders and often prosecute fraud cases for financial institutions, were recognized for their work in representing an individual who was victimized in a mortgage fraud scheme.
• John B. Davis, Baton Rouge Pro Bono Attorney of the Year: A shareholder in the Firm's Baton Rouge office, Mr. Davis was recognized for his work as the treasurer and de facto legal counsel to the Young Leaders Academy (YLA) of Baton Rouge, Inc., an organization that focuses on mentoring and developing the leadership skills of young African-American males.
• Andrew Potts and Hans Schmidt, Birmingham Pro Bono Attorneys of the Year: Mr. Potts was recognized for his work as the North Central Alabama Coordinator for the State Bar "Wills for Heroes" Project. Mr. Schmidt was recognized for many hours of work representing an individual who was sued by his former employer over a non-competition agreement.
• Russell W. Gray, Chattanooga Pro Bono Attorney of the Year: Mr. Gray, a shareholder in the Chattanooga office, was recognized for his long-time, continuing service to the Council for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services, Inc. (CADAS), a non-profit organization that offers treatment, counseling and prevention programs to combat substance abuse in the community.
• Jennifer Graham Hall and Kenya Key Rachal, Jackson (Mississippi) Pro Bono Attorneys of the Year: An associate in the Jackson office, Ms. Hall was recognized for her work providing counsel in a difficult divorce proceeding for a client referred by the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers' Project (MVLP), representing another client in post-divorce proceedings to collect child support and assisting a third long-time pro bono client in obtaining child support payments from the child's father. Of counsel in the Jackson office, Ms. Rachal was recognized for her ongoing work through MVLP Legal Line as well as her representation of numerous clients through MVLP and the Mississippi Center for Legal Services.
• L. Eric Ebbert, Knoxville Pro Bono Attorney of the Year: An associate in the Firm's Knoxville office, Mr. Ebbert was recognized for his work on five pro bono matters during the past year, including a complicated divorce matter involving child custody and parenting plans, two adoptions and two estate planning matters.
• Mark W. Frilot, Mandeville (Louisiana) Pro Bono Attorney of the Year: An associate in the Mandeville office of Baker Donelson, Mr. Frilot was recognized for his work representing Franklin Avenue Baptist Church, a predominantly African-American church located in the 8th Ward of New Orleans, in construction matters related to the rebuilding of its Sanctuary and Family Life Education Building, which was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
• Quinn N. Carlson, Memphis Pro Bono Attorney of the Year: Ms. Carlson, an associate in the Memphis office, was recognized for her work on several pro bono cases including the representation of a plaintiff in a breach of contract case against a company that purchases life insurance policies from terminally ill people, and the representation of a young man from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in a political asylum matter.
• Tonya Mitchem Grindon, Nashville Pro Bono Attorney of the Year: A shareholder in the Nashville office of Baker Donelson, Ms. Grindon was recognized for performing a wide variety of corporate legal work on behalf of the Nashville Humane Association, including preparing new bylaws and a conflict of interest policy for the organization. She also worked to establish an endowment and helps to maintain the Humane Association's books and records.
• Evan Caffrey, New Orleans Pro Bono Attorney of the Year: Mr. Caffrey, of counsel in the Firm's New Orleans office, was recognized for his significant efforts representing the Southeast Texas War Memorial & Heritage Foundation, which is the owner of the former U.S. Navy Destroyer USS Orleck, a museum ship damaged and displaced by Hurricane Rita. Mr. Caffrey is providing assistance in finding a new home for the USS Orleck and presenting a claim for damage sustained during the storm.
• Derek Malcolm, Tri-Cities (Tennessee) Pro Bono Attorney of the Year: An associate in the Johnson City office of Baker Donelson, Mr. Malcolm was recognized for his work on several pro bono matters, including two divorce matters referred by Legal Aid, a landlord tenant dispute, and representation of the Watauga Historical Association in a dispute with the State of Tennessee over the ownership and control of property.
"While Baker Donelson is fortunate to have many attorneys who give substantial time and effort to pro bono service, we honor these award winners for their extraordinary devotion and persistence in pursuing equal justice for the less fortunate and in supporting community causes," said Lisa W. Borden, the Firm's Pro Bono Shareholder. "I am proud to be associated with each of them, and hope that they will set an example that all other lawyers in their offices, and in their communities, will be inspired to follow."
Through its commitment to pro bono representation, Baker Donelson provides legal services to groups and individuals who are likely to be marginalized in the legal system due to economic barriers. Over the years, the Firm's attorneys have provided a variety of counsel to many populations, including immigrants, refugees, the elderly and the impoverished. Baker Donelson's efforts include work on a wide range of matters, including death penalty litigation, representing victims of Hurricane Katrina and providing corporate legal services to minority business start-ups.