President's Pro Bono Service Awards


The State Bar Board of Trustees created the President’s Pro Bono Service Awards in 1983. The awards recognize California attorneys, law firms and associations of California lawyers who have provided or enabled the direct provision of legal services to poor persons or organizations whose primary purpose is to provide legal services to the poor, free of charge, without expectation of compensation from the client, in the preceding calendar year. In November 2009, the Board of Trustees expanded the list of award recipients to include California law schools accredited by the American Bar Association or The State Bar of California and law students currently enrolled in those law schools. A combined total of up to nine awards shall be given annually in all award categories. Recommendations for the President’s Pro Bono Service Awards are made by the Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services (SCDLS) to the Board of Trustees, which reviews and approves the recommendations.


Award recipients must either be:

  1. Lawyers who provided pro bono legal services from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015 and
    • are members of the State Bar of California;
    • were not employed on a full-time basis, during the period when the pro bono work was done, by an organization that has as its primary purpose the provision of free legal services to the poor (as defined by current federal poverty guidelines) unless the legal services staff attorney provided the pro bono work outside the scope of his/her employment;
    • have voluntarily contributed a significant amount of time, with no expectation of being paid by the client or receiving attorney fees (unless they have agreed in advance to donate all fees received) to providing or enabling the delivery of legal services in civil or criminal matters for a client, client group or charitable organization (whose primary purpose is to provide services to the poor and that does not have the resources to pay for services);
    • have made such contribution independently or preferably through organized pro bono programs, including legal services programs, legal aid societies, local bar association-sponsored pro bono programs, lawyer referral services' no fee panels or other organizations whose primary purpose is to serve the poor, and
    • whose voluntary contributions have resulted in increased access to legal services for the poor; or,
  2. Law firms, teams of lawyers, associations of California lawyers, California law schools accredited by the American Bar Association or State Bar of California, and law students currently enrolled in those law schools who did not receive any form of compensation, clinical or other academic credit for doing pro bono work, and the work was not public service (e.g. building houses for Habitat for Humanity, serving meals in a soup kitchen).

Members of the Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services (SCDLS) are ineligible to receive an award during their service on the committee, and for one year following their departure from the committee.


  • the breadth and impact of the nominee's work
  • the nominee's practice setting
  • obstacles or challenges to doing pro bono work (including but not limited to geography)
  • pro bono activities of law firms, law schools and government and corporate legal departments in relationship to the size of the entity
  • the nature of the pro bono program through which the work was done
  • evidence of the nominee's continuing commitment to pro bono work
  • the nature of services contributed, such as: direct representation, impact litigation, appellate work, mentoring, mobilization of other to do pro bono work, provision of volunteer lawyer training, emergency, difficult or unpopular cases, advice and counsel, co-counseling, pro per assistance, organization of pro bono activities, organization of a new project or delivery service, client or public education, innovative or unique approaches


Please note that no more than a total of nine (9) awards may be given in all of the five categories combined. The number of awards in a particular category may vary from year to year.

  1. Individual:
    • Solo Practitioner: attorney in his or her own practice
    • Recently Admitted: attorney is in his or her first four years of practice (please note that this definition is different from that used for the Jack Berman Award of Achievement sponsored by the California Young Lawyers Association)
    • Limited Active Practice: attorney enrolled in the State Bar's Pro Bono Practice Program, or who took time off from practicing law for compensation and performed substantial pro bono work
    • Law Firm: attorney from a firm with two or more California attorneys
    • Government: attorney employed by a city, county, state or federal government agency
    • Corporate: attorney employed by a corporation
    • Law School Faculty Member: pro bono service was contributed by an attorney outside the scope of his or her employment with the law school
    • Law Student: currently enrolled in a law school accredited by the American Bar Association or State Bar of California and did not receive any form of compensation, clinical or other academic credit for pro bono work.
  2. Law Firm: A firm of two or more attorneys, a California branch office of a law firm, or team of California lawyers employed by the firm. (Please note that this category includes all law firm sizes. If you are nominating a firm with multiple branches, please indicate whether you are nominating the entire firm, or just one branch office).
  3. Corporate or Government Legal Department: Entire legal department or team of California lawyers employed by a corporation or city, county, state or federal government agency.
  4. Law School: A law school accredited by the American Bar Association or State Bar of California, project of the law school, team of law students, or partnership of law students and other segments of the legal community. Note: This award is for pro bono service that is performed voluntarily and not for clinical or academic credit, or any form of compensation.
  5. Distinguished Pro Bono Service: Pro bono effort that is innovative, collaborative, and/or went "above and beyond the call of duty" and is deserving of special recognition, including team of California lawyers from different law firms or offices.


Please refer to the Awards Information and Guidelines for criteria before completing the online nomination form.

  • Self-nominations are accepted.
  • Previous nominations are accepted but must be resubmitted with updated information for 2015.
  • Nominee’s current resume or biography with work history and supporting materials such as letters of recommendation or other relevant materials are not required but strongly encouraged. The page limit for letters of recommendation and supporting materials (not including resume) is 15 pages.
  • Letters of recommendation should be addressed to the “Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services.”
  • All questions must be answered thoroughly. If information is missing from the nomination form, the nomination may be disqualified.  If information needs to be clarified, the nominator(s) and/or additional references may be contacted to provide the information.
  • Nominations must be submitted by Tuesday, March 15, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time.  Nominators will receive an e-mail  acknowledgment from the State Bar for each nomination submitted within five business days of submission. If you do not receive an e-mail acknowledgment, please contact Saréya Shorter at or (415) 538-2141 to confirm receipt of submission.
  • Please note that each nominee will receive an e-mail notification from the State Bar that she or he has been nominated for an award with copy to the nominator.

**Information in the nomination materials is confidential.**


The State Bar Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services (SCDLS) will review the nominations and submit its recommendations to the State Bar Board of Trustees in July for final review and approval. Decisions regarding award recipients will be based on the criteria and factors listed above. The awards will be presented on September 30, 2016 during the State Bar Annual Meeting in San Diego.

For information and questions regarding the President's Pro Bono Service Awards, contact Sharon Ngim via email at:

Past President's Pro Bono Service Award Recipients

2016 Recipients
2015 Recipients
2014 Recipients
2013 Recipients
2012 Recipients
2011 Recipients
2010 Recipients

Thomas D. Theisen, San Diego, Limited Active Practice

Christina J. Brown, San Francisco, Newly Admitted

Deborah E. Jurgensen, Ventura, Solo Practitioner
  Henry C. Su, East Palo Alto, Law Firm Individual
  Coblentz,Patch, Duffy & Bass LLP, San Francisco, Law Firm
  Jones Day Advocate Team,  Los Angeles, Law Firm Team
  Morrison & Foerster Foster Parents Team, Palo Alto,  Law Firm Team
  California Western School of Law, San Diego,  Law School
  South Asian Bar Association of Northern California Pro Bono Committee, San Francisco,  Distinguished Pro Bono Service
2009 Recipients

Intel Corporation Legal Department, Folsom Campus, Corporate

Cooley Godward Kronish LLP, Palo Alto Office, Large Law Firm

Yasmine S. Mehmet, San Francisco, Solo Practitioner
2008 Recipients

Ajay A. Patel, Sony Media Software and Services , Corporate

Kimberly K. Shean, Government

Bennett & Erdman , Small Law Firm

Kenneth S. Klein, Foley & Lardner LLP San Diego Office , Medium Law Firm

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, Sacramento, San Francisco and Silicon Valley Offices , Large Law Firm

Benjamin Kuhm, Recently Admitted

Josef M. Dion, Solo Practitioner

Joseph A. Montoya, Emeritus or limited Active Practice

Howrey LLP; Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP; Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP; and Morrison & Foerster LLP, Distinguished Pro Bono Service
2007 Recipients

DarAnn L. Dearing, Government

Heller Ehrman LLP Litigation Team, Distinguished Pro Bono Service

Minyard & Morris LLP, Small Law Firm

Donahue Gallagher Woods LLP, Medium Law Firm

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Large Law Firm

Carlo A. Pedrioli, Recently Admitted

Kate Neiswender, Solo Practitioner
2006 Recipients

Dennis Connelly, Corporate

Orange County Public Defender's Office, Government

Liberson & Wolford LLP, Small Law Firm

Silicon Valley Office of McDermott Will & Emery LLP, Medium Law Firm

Kirkland & Deborah McCrimmon, Large Law Firm

Nicholas Baran, Recently Admitted

Cynthia Holton, Solo Practitioner

S. Lee Roullier, Emeritus or Limited Active Practice

Bay Area Association of Muslim Lawyers, Distinguished Pro Bono Service
2005 Recipients

Stephen Pickett, Corporate

Robert Guerra, Government

Ruth Silver Taube, Small Law Firm

San Francisco Office of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP, Medium Law Firm

Kirkland & Ellis Rancho Litigation Team, Large Law Firm

Trina Roderick, Recently Admitted

Susan Ratzkin, Solo Practitioner

Glen Mowrer, Emeritus or Limited Active Practice

Morrison & Foerster “Williams” Team, Distinguished Pro Bono Service
2004 Recipients

Natividad Chavira, Corporate

Brian Wolf, Government

Alan Yee, Small Law Firm

Bird Marella Boxer Wolpert Nessim Drooks & Lincenberg, Medium Law Firm

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Palo Alto and San Francisco Offices, Large Law Firm

Gabriella Navarro-Busch, Recently Admitted

Jennifer Aragon, Solo Practitioner

Florence Rosenberg and Pearl Vogel, Emeritus or Limited Active Practice

San Diego County Disaster Relief Coalition, Distinguished Pro Bono Service
2003 Recipients

Barry Bartholomew & Associates Pro Bono Adoption Group, Corporate

Steven Binder, Government

Michael Ford, Small Law Firm

Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe, Medium Law Firm

Latham & Watkins, Large Law Firm

Thomas Ostly, Recently Admitted

Arthur Chettle, Solo Practitioner

Peter Pickslay, Emeritus or Limited Active Practice

Kimberly Stewart, Distinguished Pro Bono Service
2002 Recipients

H. Nelson Meeks, Corporate

Bruce Zucker, Government

Philip L. Hammer (Hammer & Jacobs), Small Law Firm

Gregory J. Ramirez (Benton Orr Duval & Buckingham), Medium Law Firm

HALSA Project Team of Arnold & Porter, Large Law Firm

Thomas A. Kritzik, Recently Admitted

Thomas N. Andrews, Solo Practitioner

John P. Miller, Emeritus or Limited Active Practice

Emeritus Team of the Volunteer Lawyers Services Program, Ventura County Bar Association, Distinguished Pro Bono Service
2001 Recipients

Charles Bowman, Corporate

Jasmin Flores, Government

Kemnitzer Anderson Barron & Ogilvie, Small Law Firm

John Sullivan Kenny (Moss & Enochian), Medium Law Firm

Thomas Nolan (Howrey Simon Arnold & White), Large Law Firm

Shaye Larkin, Recently Admitted

Stephanie Simpson, Solo Practitioner

Frank Horowitz, Emeritus or Limited Active Practice

Debora Vierra and Laura Bartels, Distinguished Pro Bono Service
2000 Recipients

Leo J. Graham, District One: Redding

Jeannette M. Carper, District Two: Sacramento

Jonathan M. Wong, District Three: Oakland

Cathy A. Mosbrucker, District Four: San Francisco

Lita O. Blatner and Robert L. Felts; Good News Center, District Five: Visalia

David Shain, District Six: Ventura

Daniel J. Woods , District Seven: Los Angeles

Clifford R. Anderson, District Eight: Orange

Phyllis G. Schrader, District Nine: San Diego

Anne M. Rubenstein, Northern California Retired Attorney: Marin

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP , Northern California Law Firm: San Francisco

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP , Southern California Law Firm: Los Angeles
1999 Recipients

Sandra Stanley, District One: Grass Valley

Peter Brixie, District Two: Sacramento

Alan Harley Davidson, District Three: Alameda

John Stringer, District Four: San Francisco

Paul Lerandeau, District Five: Fresno

Ralph K. Hekman, District Six:  Riverside

Lynette Berg Robe , District Seven: Los Angeles

Anil K. Mehta, District Eight: Santa Ana

Rebecca MacKenzie, District NineLSan Diego

Armstrong Team, McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen, Northern California Law FirmSan Francisco

Kaye, Scholer, Fierman, Hays & Handler , Southern California Law FirmLos Angeles

Kathryn Ringgold, Northern California Retired AttorneySan Francisco

Richard J. Hicks, Southern California Retired AttorneySan Diego
1998 Recipients

Andrew Holcombe, District One: Chico

J. Kevin Mendricks, District Two: Sacramento

Carol Federighi, District Three: Oakland

Barbara Bergstrom and Sally Anne Campbell, District Four: San Francisco

Jack Daniel, District Five: Fresno

James R. Nichols, District Six: Santa Barbara

Gloria Cordova and Kristine Reiser, District Seven: Pasadena

Jeanne Thomas, District Eight: Santa Ana

Peggy Dolan, District Nine: El Cajon

Morrison & Foerster, San Francisco

Procopio Cory Hargreaves & Savitch, San Diego

Sally Brown, Oakland

Wallace Friedman, Wallace Friedman
1997 Recipients

Gretchen Serrata, District One: Nevada City

Frederic L. Snowden, District Two: Sacramento

The Santa Clara County Chapter of the California Applicants’ Attorneys Association (CAAA), District Three: San Jose

Mark S. Coby, District Four: San Francisco

Lucille Goins Dimmick, District Five: Fresno

Ronald G. Harrington, District Six: Ventura

A. Stephanie Loftin, District Seven: Long Beach

Public Law Center’s (PLC) AIDS Legal Assistance Project Team, District Eight: Santa Ana

Laura Stuart Taylor, District Nine: San Diego

Max Robinson,Northern California Retired Attorney: Fresno

Noah Sherman,Northern California Retired Attorney: Berkeley

John McGuane, Southern California Retired Attorney: Chula Vista

Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe, Northern California Law Firm: San Francisco

Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro LLP, Southern California Law Firm: San Diego
1996 Recipients

Dennis S. and Elisabeth W. Harvey, District One: Chico

Victoria M. Jacobs, District Two: Sacramento

Geoffrey L. Robinson, District Three: Walnut Creek

Kathryn E. Kirkland, District Four: San Francisco

Catherine F. Campbell, District Five: Fresno

Tina L. Rasnow, District Six: Westlake Village

Irene M. Mak, District Seven: Northridge
Marcia L. Scully, District Seven: Los Angeles

Diana R. Griffiths, District Eight: Irvine

Dianne L. Woodcroft, District Nine: San Diego

Munger, Tolles & Olson, Northern California Firm: San Francisco

O'Melveny & Myers, Southern California Firm: Los Angeles

A.Zettler "Zett" Greely , Northern California Retired Attorney: Santa Cruz

Richard P. McManus, Southern California Retired Attorney: San Diego