The Committee encourages and promotes access to legal representation and services by persons who are unable to access the legal system because of the lack or financial resources or other barriers beyond their control; promotes the establishment and efficient maintenance of programs which encourage and aid the furnishing of pro bono legal services by members of the Association; assists members and organizations who furnish legal services to low income and disadvantaged persons and to organizations described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code which cannot reasonably afford legal services; recognizes members who furnish pro bono legal services; and takes such other actions as will aid the Association and its members in their obligation to further pro bono legal services.
Jennifer Lyn Binkley, Committee Chair Community Justice Inc 214 North Hamilton, Suite 101 Madison, WI 53703 204-9642 FAX: 204-9645 email@example.com
This year join us for a special virtual presentation of the Pro Bono Awards via Zoom.
Since we can’t personally provide you with breakfast, we’re teaming up with a local chef who will be hosting an interactive cooking demo at the start of the event. If you’d like, follow along to prepare a delicious breakfast dish alongside the Chef, right in your own kitchen. All registrants will receive a grocery list ahead of time to prepare. Stay tuned for an announcement on which Chef will be helping you create your gourmet dish!
Enjoy your breakfast as we announce the Pro Bono Award winners and honorable mentions, all honoring outstanding service to the Dane County Community.
We’ll conclude this inspiring event with words from our keynote speaker, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Jill Karofsky.
We hope you can attend! CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!
A huge thank you to our organizing sponsors, Thomson Reuters & FindLaw, for their work in helping to plan this virtual event. For each guest that attends the event, Thomson Reuters will donate $10 to Porchlight Homeless Services!
Thank you to our additional sponsors, State Bar of Wisconsin, Habash Charitable Fund, von Brieson & Roper, Foley & Lardner LLP and Community Justice Inc.
The DCBA is still gathering sponsorships.
Sponsorship are available at the following levels:
$1000 Diamond, $750 Platinum, $500 Gold and $200 Silver
Sponsorships include recognition during the event highlighting your firm's contribution, additional recognition in the event program, and inclusion in the DCBA newsletter and DCBA website. Sponsorships at the Platinum and Diamond Level will receive recognition during the event as well as static annual inclusion on the DCBA webpage
2020 Pro Bono Award Winners
Law Student Pro Bono Award
Angela O’Brien is this year’s recipient of the DCBA Law Student Pro Bono Award. Ms. O’Brien has logged over 150 hours of pro bono legal services during her law school career, dedicating her service to immigration/asylum law. During two trips to Dilley, Texas, Ms. O’Brien prepared detained mothers for Credible Fear Interviews with the U.S. Asylum Office and provided legal representation before immigration judges. Law students Taijae Evans and Samuel Kuzniewski each receive an Honorable Mention. Mr. Evans has logged over 130 hours of pro bono work to date, focusing primarily on volunteering for the Legal Assistance for Disaster Relief student organization and at the Unemployment Appeals Clinic. Mr. Evans also volunteers as a high school student mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County. Mr. Kuzniewski has logged more than 150 pro bono hours to date, volunteering primarily with the Unemployment Appeals Clinic and the Veterans Law Center. Mr. Kuzniewski shared his pro bono experiences with other UW law students as a part of a panel during the Public Interest Law Foundation’s 2019 pro bono week.
Individual Attorney Pro Bono Award
This year’s DCBA Individual Attorney Pro Bono Award goes to Attorney Carousel Bayrd of Community Justice, Inc. Atty. Bayrd volunteers with the Student Expulsion Prevention Project (StEPP), taking on complex and time-intensive cases. StEPP is a project developed by the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office to connect volunteer attorneys with youth facing expulsion hearings. StEPP’s mission is to keep students in school and to help youth, particularly youth of color, avoid the School to Prison Pipeline. A board member at StEPP praises Atty. Bayrd as a tireless and effective advocate for students in Dane County. Atty. Bayrd’s advocacy extends beyond direct representation including outreach to elected school board officials in an effort to understand the challenges facing students and to discuss the need for policy change to protect the rights of students of color in public schools. As an elected member of the Dane County Board of Supervisors for the past 14 years and as the past Policy Coordinator at YCWA Madison, Atty. Bayrd dedicates her service to community social justice issues such as comprehensive criminal justice reform and the representation of women of color. Atty. Bayrd also hosts a weekly radio show on WORT FM which covers local politics. Attorney Frank Donahue (Community Justice, Inc.) and Attorney Regan Hendrickson (Stoltz Hendrickson LLC) both receive Honorable Mentions. As a Spanish speaker, Atty. Donahue is the first attorney to begin offering immigration services at CJI and spends the majority of his practice representing clients under the Department of Justice’s Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant and assisting clients with the asylum application process. Atty. Donahue also volunteers as an attorney for the Small Claims Assistance Project (SCAP), the Southside Madison College Legal Clinic, and the Sunshine Legal Clinic in Sun Prairie. Atty. Hendrickson is a volunteer attorney for the Student Expulsion Prevention Project (StEPP) who works diligently to represent youth against expulsion. Dedicated to advocating for underrepresented students, Atty. Hendrickson has provided pro bono services through StEPP since 2017 and has successfully prevented five students in Dane County from being expelled.
Community Partner Pro Bono Award
Attorney Iris Christenson, recently retired after a career dedicated to elder and special needs law, receives the DCBA Community Partner Pro Bono Award. Having herself received community assistance after losing her father at a young age and as a young single mother, Atty. Christenson has devoted her career and retirement to helping those who are struggling to provide for themselves and their families. Disturbed by the separation of families at the US-Mexico border, Atty. Christenson is passionate about making a direct difference in the lives of immigrants and refugees in her retirement. Atty. Christenson provides pro bono administrative legal services for the Immigration Legal Services Program (ILSP) in the Catholic Multicultural Center (CMC). CMC is a social service-based community center on Madison’s south side and the ILSP offers immigration legal services to low/no income immigrants who are otherwise unable to afford representation. Atty. Christenson has taken substantial time and effort to improve her capacity to help these individuals and families by taking a course in immigration law, increasing her cultural competency and Spanish language skills, and taking mission trips to Guatemala to further understand the situations that some immigrants come from. Beyond her legal services, Atty. Christenson also provides much-needed emotional and practical support in order to meet the needs of immigrant clients.
Law Firm Pro Bono Award
West & Dunn receives the DCBA Law Firm Pro Bono Award for its pro bono work representing veterans who are appealing claims for disability benefits. Since its creation in 2016, West & Dunn has dedicated a substantial part of its practice to helping veterans of the United States armed forces. The firm represents, on a pro bono basis, an average of 30 veterans each year before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (Veterans Court). In 2019, 44 veterans received pro bono representation from West & Dunn and the attorneys provided a total of 1,622 hours of legal services. West & Dunn employs four of the twenty-five Wisconsin attorneys admitted to practice before the Veterans Court. To lessen the gap between the number of veterans in need and the number of those serving veterans, the firm provides training for both attorney and non-attorney veterans advocates. West & Dunn also offers legal services not related to disability benefits to veterans at a discounted rate.
Lifetime Pro Bono Award
Attorney John Mitby receives the DCBA Lifetime Pro Bono Award for making a positive and lasting impact on the community and on the lives of individuals, young and old, including those with cognitive and physical disabilities, socio-economic challenges, and others traditionally marginalized. Atty. Mitby is a longstanding legal services volunteer for AgeBetter, a non-profit organization serving older adults. Since 2005, Atty. Mitby has provided legal advice and services to develop and sustain AgeBetter’s Sharing Active Independent Lives (SAIL) program. SAIL is a program focused on bringing independence and community to older adults in Madison, and benefits hundreds of seniors locally each year and acts as a model for similar organizations nationwide. Atty. Mitby also has contributed to and assisted the following nonprofits and community resources, among others, through his career: the Goodman Community Center, Easter Seals Camp Wawbeek, Reddan Soccer Park in Verona, 1800 Days in Madison, and Blue Trunk Foundation. As president of the Olson Foundation and the Van Wie Foundation, Atty. Mitby has been instrumental in supporting the work of community organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County, the Goodman Community Center, SAIL, and Easter Seals Camp Wawbeek.
Ways to Help
Dear Dane County Attorneys:
In the summer, 2003 DCBA Newsletter, Attorney Jim Jaeger described a project the Dane County Delivery of Legal Services Committee has undertaken; click the following to download the booklet, "WAYS TO HELP", offering numerous opportunities for pro bono service as well as an election form for you to choose an agency with which you could become involved. Our Committee is trying to fashion an organized approach to meeting the demand for pro bono services and your participation is essential.
A variety of opportunities are available to you, and a few that you will see in the booklet are: helping with guardianships (Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups), helping develop policies and procedures (Community Coordinated Child Care), participating on a board of directors (Cornucopia), and direct representation in a variety of legal matters. There are many more opportunities in other areas as well.
We urge you to review the booklet and select an organization that you would like to become involved with. Please fill out the provided form, and fax it to 608-848-9266 or fill out the online form. The community needs your help.
If each of you would commit in the next year to take advantage of a pro bono opportunity, the need for services would go a long way towards being met. Thank you.
Very truly yours,
Jennifer Binkley, Chair
Dane County Delivery of Legal Services Committee
Dane County Bar Association Worthy Causes Grants
The Dane County Bar Association annually makes funds available for distribution to projects which have one of three purposes:
- Increasing the availability of legal services to low income individuals;
- Educating members of the public on their rights and responsibilities under the law; or
- Improving the legal resources available in Dane County to lawyers and the public.
Nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies providing services in Dane County are eligible to apply for funding.
DCBA Worthy Causes Grants are intended to be used to fund a specific project. They are not intended to be used for staffing, overhead or general operating expenses. Funding from the DCBA should be critical to the project for which funds are sought. Ideally, the project should either be new or an expansion of an existing program. Nonetheless, the grant committee will also entertain requests for funds that would sustain an existing program that might be discontinued without additional funding. Please note that most successful grant applicants in the past have been awarded between $500 and $2,000 in funding.
The grant committee will consider these additional factors:
- How the project will be staffed and supported; and
- The extent of funding available from other sources for the project.
Applicants should submit a proposed budget for the project, along with the specific amount requested from the DCBA. Applicants may not receive the full amount requested and should indicate whether they would be able to perform the project without the full amount requested. Grant recipients will be required to report on the status of the project. Any prior recipient of funding should be sure to submit that report prior to applying for additional funding.
Watch for details on applying for next year's grants.
Every year the DLSC recruits volunteers to provide free legal information at a Dane County Farmer’s Market day.
Attorney David Relles and Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg where among those who volunteered their time with the
Dane County Bar to provide legal information at the MadisonFarmers' Market on October 18, 2014.
Pro Bono Road Show
The DLSC organizes presentations at law firms and other venues to recruit new pro bono attorneys and provide information to those attorneys and firms interested in pro bono efforts. For more information in getting involved or having the Road Show make a stop at your firm please contact Jennifer Binkley
Join the Committee
for more information contact Jennifer Binkley.
Low Cost and Free Legal Resources in Dane County
We maintain a comprehensive list of resources in Dane County on our Resources Page.
If you have resources you would like to add to this list please send the information to >Jennifer Binkley