McWilliams & Gold is the 2011 recipient of the Legal Aid of East Tennessee Firm of the Year Award for their demonstrated commitment to representing low-income clients in pro bono cases, and for supporting local pro bono initiatives, including free legal advice clinics. In the past year, McWilliams & Gold’s two attorneys, Leslie McWilliams & Barry Gold, have assisted a total of 11 pro bono clients with family law matters. The firm is deeply committed to improving the lives of underserved children. As a result, they focus their pro bono efforts on helping low-income families achieve successful adoptions. Jamie Carpenter, a paralegal at McWilliams & Gold, is also heavily involved in the firm’s pro bono efforts and, tonight she will be the first recipient of the Pro Bono Paralegal of the Year Award.
Pro Bono Advocacy Award – Rachel S. Fisher
The Pro Bono Advocacy Award is given to a pro bono attorney who demonstrates outstanding dedication as an advocate for indigent clients, often stepping outside of his or her area of expertise to fill an unmet need. Tonight, Rachel Fisher, an attorney with Scenic City Legal Group, receives this award for stepping outside of her comfort zone as a transactional and corporate law attorney to represent a low-income victim of domestic violence obtain a divorce. Rachel has made a commitment to herself, her community and Legal Aid to provide 50 hours of pro bono service a year. Recognizing that divorce cases involving victims of domestic violence are some of the most difficult cases to place pro bono, Rachel decided to dedicate her 50 hours to addressing that critical and unmet need.
Pro Bono Excellence Award – Amanda Branam Rogers
The Pro Bono Excellence Award is given to a pro bono attorney who has made outstanding contributions of time and talent to the Pro Bono Project as a whole. Tonight, Amanda Branam Rogers, of the Luther-Anderson firm, receives this award for her unwavering commitment and support of the Pro Bono Project and her dedication to making access to justice a reality in Chattanooga. In the past year, Amanda assisted 9 low-income clients access the justice system. In addition, Amanda is a regular volunteer at Legal Aid of East Tennessee’s weekly Pro Bono Intake where she helps connect low-income clients with volunteer attorneys who can assist them. Amanda is also a champion for pro bono service within her firm and the legal community, recruiting lawyers to volunteer for free legal clinics and heralding the importance of pro bono service to all who will listen.
Pro Bono Paralegal of the Year Award – Jamie Carpenter
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