The State Bar of Michigan has honored a group of law firms and corporations in the region for their work in providing access to justice to low-income individuals.
The state bar, or SBM, selected the winners of its 2017 Pro Bono Circle of Excellence awards last week, and 14 West Michigan law firms and two corporations made the list.
Warner Norcross & Judd — whose pro bono activities are led by associate general counsel Kevin Dougherty — is one of the winners.
“We believe in contributing in meaningful ways to the communities where we live and work,” said Douglas Dozeman, managing partner, Warner Norcross. “Providing legal services to those in need on a pro bono basis helps ensure that everyone in our community can have access to legal representation.”
To qualify, law firms must provide free or reduced-fee representation to low-income individuals or organizations and/or contribute to SBM’s Access to Justice Fund, which provides civil legal services to people of limited means.
The awards fall into two categories: leadership- and excellence-level winners. Leadership-level firms must contribute a minimum of 30 hours of services or $500 per attorney to the Access to Justice Fund. Excellence-level firms are those that contribute a minimum of 30 hours or $300 in donations per lawyer.
Access to Justice
The Access to Justice Campaign is a partnership of the State Bar of Michigan, Michigan State Bar Foundation and Michigan’s civil legal aid programs to increase resources for civil legal aid to low-income Michigan residents.
The State Bar of Michigan is the governing body for lawyers in Michigan. Membership is mandatory for attorneys who practice law in Michigan.
The organization’s mission is to aid in promoting improvements in the administration of justice and advancements in jurisprudence, improving relations between the legal profession and the public and promoting the interests of the legal profession in Michigan.
Pro Bono Circle of Excellence, West Michigan winners
($500 per-attorney average in financial donations)
Bos & Glazier
Faurecia Automotive Seating
Gruel Mills Nims & Pylman
Honigman Miller Schwartz & Cohn
Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge
Warner Norcross & Judd
($300 per-attorney average in financial donations)
Foster Swift Collins & Smith
Sinas, Dramis, Brake, Boughton & McIntyre
Steffel & Steffel
Vandervoort, Christ & Fisher