(Johnson City, TN/October 25, 2010) Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, and one of its Tri-Cities attorneys were recognized for their pro bono efforts at the Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET) annual Pro Bono Awards Banquet on October 14, 2010.
Baker Donelson was named the 2010 LAET North Law Firm of the Year for providing the most pro bono hours of any law firm. This is the second time the Firm has been honored with this recognition, having also received this top LAET honor in 2008.
Also recognized was Baker Donelson attorney Christie M. Hayes, who was named an Honor Roll Recipient for providing the most pro bono work of any attorney in the LAET North.
"We're very proud of the pro bono work that Christie and the Firm have done and continue to do," said Brent B. Young, Pro Bono Coordinator for Baker Donelson's Tri-Cities, Tennessee/Virginia office. "Christie is one of many dedicated professionals in our Firm who commit their time and skills to ensuring those in need have access to a justice system that otherwise would be out of reach because of their limited means."
The Firm was recognized for its commitment to providing pro bono representation to the Tri-Cities community. Through referrals from LAET and other means, attorneys in Baker Donelson's Tri-Cities office have logged in excess of 200 hours in pro bono efforts during 2010, and continue to be heavily engaged in such efforts throughout the community.
Ms. Hayes contributed more than 50 hours of pro bono work exclusively on referrals from LAET, along with additional hours for other pro bono projects for individuals and other non-profit organizations in matters ranging from conservatorships to TennCare appeals.
"Our Firm has a long and proud history of pro bono involvement and is very committed to serving members of our communities who are in need," said Ronald S. Range, Jr., managing shareholder of Baker Donelson's Tri-Cities office. "With the recent enhancements in our pro bono initiative, our attorneys are able to dedicate even more of their time to providing legal representation free of charge to those who otherwise could not afford the services of an attorney."
Earlier this year, Baker Donelson revised its pro bono policy to provide billable hour credit to all attorneys for up to 50 hours per year of pro bono work, up from the previous credit total of 20 hours per year, a move that could significantly increase the number of hours that its nearly 550 attorneys spend providing free legal services to people of limited means.
LAET provides civil legal representation to indigent clients in East Tennessee, serving 26 counties from Chattanooga to Johnson City. Volunteer attorneys work with LAET staff to help achieve the group's mission of ensuring equal justice for elderly, abused and low-income people by providing a broad scope of civil legal assistance and advocacy.
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. Additional information on the Firm's Pro Bono efforts is available at http://www.bakerdonelson.com/pro-bono/