(Birmingham, AL / April 27, 2016) Lisa W. Borden of Baker Donelson has received the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Litigation's 2016 John Minor Wisdom Public Service and Professionalism Award.
This prestigious national award honors those who have made outstanding contributions to the quality of justice in their communities, ensuring that the legal system is open and available to all. Ms. Borden received the award at a luncheon during the 2016 Section of Litigation Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois, on April 14.
Ms. Borden was recognized for her extensive work in direct representation, program development and policy advocacy in the areas of homelessness, debtors' prisons and the death penalty. She has represented both death row inmates and amici in numerous death penalty cases, created and run legal services programs for the homeless, and is a nationally known advocate against the jailing of the poor over court fines and fees.
"Lisa is tireless in her work to promote equality and access to justice for all," said Baker Donelson Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ben C. Adams. "Through her passion and commitment, she has had a significant impact, both in her individual efforts and the numerous initiatives she has spearheaded as the leader of our pro bono program. We're exceptionally proud of the work she does and gratified to see her honored with this well-deserved recognition."
Ms. Borden, who is resident in the Firm's Birmingham office, has been Baker Donelson's Pro Bono Shareholder since 2007. In that capacity, she is responsible for overseeing the development, growth and administration of the Firm's pro bono programs. Under her leadership, the Firm has been instrumental in efforts such as expanding the Homeless Experience Legal Protection (HELP) program, which operates recurring legal clinics at homeless shelters in about 30 cities nationwide; creating courts dedicated to handling minor legal matters common among the homeless; reining in modern day debtors' prisons operated by municipalities and the private probation services with which they contract; and spearheading and organizing volunteer lawyer programs across Baker Donelson's footprint. Many of the Firm's offices and individual attorneys are routinely recognized for efforts begun and sustained under Ms. Borden's leadership, and Baker Donelson has twice been named a Beacon of Justice Award winner by the National Legal Aid & Defender Association.
Ms. Borden has served as president of the board of directors of the Birmingham Volunteer Lawyers Program, and as a member of the board of directors of the Legal Aid Society of Birmingham. She currently serves on the Advisory Committee of the Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta and the board of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, and is chair of the Alabama Supreme Court's Access to Justice Commission. Ms. Borden also raises awareness about pro bono topics through her blog, One Good Turn.
Through its commitment to pro bono representation, Baker Donelson provides legal services to groups and individuals 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, such as advocating for the homeless and organizations that serve the homeless, death penalty litigation, providing corporate legal services to non-profit organizations, and much more.