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Baker Donelson Named ABA Free Legal Answers Pro Bono Leader

Baker Donelson has been honored by the American Bar Association (ABA) as a recipient of the ABA Free Legal Answers 2020 Pro Bono Leader Award, in recognition of the outstanding contribution of service by the Firm's attorneys to the virtual legal advice clinic.

The ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service presents this annual recognition to individual attorneys, law firms, corporate law departments and other organizations that have provided extraordinary pro bono services through ABA Free Legal Answers. In 2020, Baker Donelson attorneys answered more legal questions on ABA Free Legal Answers than any other law firm or legal group, responding to 1,155 questions on the sites for Georgia, Louisiana and Tennessee.

The ABA Free Legal Answers website, which originated in Tennessee a decade ago and which Baker Donelson developed, has been licensed as a free service for low-income clients in 43 states. More than 145,000 pro bono legal questions have been answered through the site, which has nearly 9,000 volunteer lawyers. Similar software has been licensed to pro bono agencies in the Virgin Islands, Australia and the United Kingdom.

Samuel T. Bowman, Baker Donelson's pro bono shareholder said, "From our involvement in the creation and development of the original platform, through the vision and leadership of our own Buck Lewis in spearheading this as a national tool, and to our many lawyers who continue to volunteer their time, Baker Donelson has been committed to this incredible online resource that provides free legal assistance to those in need. We're deeply honored by this recognition and look forward to continuing to support the mission of legal access that ABA Free Legal Answers is uniquely designed to achieve."

Through its commitment to pro bono representation, Baker Donelson provides legal services to groups and individuals whose resources are limited. For decades, the Firm's attorneys have provided a variety of counsel to many underserved populations that have had no options for legal representation. Baker Donelson's efforts include work on a wide range of matters, such as advocating for the homeless and organizations that serve the homeless, providing corporate legal services to non-profit organizations, collaborating with our clients to address particular community needs, and much more. The Firm has been instrumental in efforts such as expanding the Homeless Experience Legal Protection (HELP) program across the Southeast; creating courts dedicated to handling minor legal matters common among the homeless; assisting persons of limited means with obtaining driver's licenses, an essential need in helping these individuals reintegrate into society; and spearheading and organizing volunteer lawyer programs across Baker Donelson's footprint.

Baker Donelson has led the way in the legal industry by being one of the first law firms in the Southeast to create a Pro Bono Committee and designate a full-time Pro Bono Shareholder. To further its commitment to pro bono, Baker Donelson also designates Pro Bono Committee Office Chairs in most of its 21 offices. These chairs are best suited to address local needs while coordinating with the Firm's Pro Bono Shareholder for global pro bono initiatives. This structure ensures Baker Donelson is well-suited to further its goal of addressing broad spectrum needs across the Firm's footprint and beyond.

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