2005 Pro Bono Award Recipients
Private practitioner: Bruce Botelho represents the best of both a private and public attorney. When asked why his commitment to pro bono work is so strong, he answered easily, "I have always had a clear understanding that this profession is one that is meant to serve those without access to justice; I enjoy it immensely - it's both intellectually and emotionally stimulating; the reward of making a human connection is immediate."
And, Alaska's communities are better for Bruce's commitments.
While serving as Attorney General under the Knowles administration, Bruce instituted a pro bono policy for state attorneys to actively participate in pro bono work. Bruce knew that both working as the AG and doing pro bono work could be done given that he had two active pro bono cases for victims of domestic violence. One of these cases came from an unlikely referral source: a local folk dance. One of Bruce's hobbies is folk dancing and while teaching at a local event, he struck up a conversation with a shy young woman with two children. During their conversation, Bruce learned that she was trying to leave a violent relationship. He offered to help. Three years have passed and both of their lives have changed. The young woman will receive her degree in Social Work this month and never misses an opportunity to see Bruce when she's in town; Bruce became Juneau's mayor.
During his tenure as Mayor, Bruce has devoted himself to four clients with family law matters. His fluency in Spanish has been profoundly helpful in serving those clients who are both victims of domestic violence and non-English speaking. These same skills have been instrumental in helping representatives from the Immigration and Refugee Services Program organize with the immigration community in Juneau.
Bruce's colleagues will tell you that he is the epitome of professionalism, compassion, and commitment to equal justice. We know it's true and welcome him to the Hall of Fame of pro bono award recipients.
Firm award: Baxter, Bruce and Sullivan considers itself an "every person's firm", created in 1977 by Fred Baxter, Mendenhall Valley?s first attorney, which currently employs seven attorneys and two pivotal legal assistants. This is a firm that is rooted in philanthropic giving?both of time and money to supporting equal justice.
For five years Baxter, Bruce and Sullivan has contributed significant firm resources to problem-solving Juneau and Alaska's growing bankruptcy client population. Their strong team includes two legal assistants, Chris Hildebrand and Rhoda Martin who bring a combined 27 years of practice to providing pro bono service to clients with keen interviewing skills, compassion and understanding. The firm's team recently trained Juneau?s staff at Alaska Legal Services and offered the community's first bankruptcy legal clinic. Additionally, they continually seek ways to update bankruptcy materials for clients and assist Alaska Legal Services staff.
Attrition is low at Baxter, Bruce and Sullivan and they strongly attribute pro bono to one of the reasons why people stay and continue to do excellent work. We warmly welcome the full team of Baxter, Bruce and Sullivan, PC to the pro bono Hall of Fame.