Alaska’s legal services providers - Alaska Pro Bono Program, Alaska Legal Services, Corporation, Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and the Alaska Immigration Justice Project - select each year a private practitioner and a firm that has donated extraordinary time, resources and talents to pro bono efforts in Alaska.
Solo Practitioner: Erik LeRoy
Erik is a solo practitioner in Anchorage and has been extremely involved with helping low-income Alaskans with consumer protection and bankruptcy issues. Erik routinely assists more than a dozen pro bono clients in court each year concurrently with his pro bono case load of 20 clients. He has also taught the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy clinic with Paul Paslay (a 2006 Pro Bono Award recipient) for more than a decade.
Distance, timing and location have never been a problem for him; he is one of the few volunteers willing to help clients who live in rural Alaska. More than once, he has been a mentor to other attorneys and to ALSC staff attorneys.
Private Practitioner: Chris Brecht
Chris Brecht is an associate with Bankston Gronning O’Hara PC and was selected this year because of his pro bono service to the Alaska Pro Bono Program over the past two years. Logging more than 400 hours on a divorce action for a disabled individual and the second Habitat For Humanity Wills clinic, Chris gives generously each year despite having a young family and growing practice.
Law Firm: Walker & Eakes LLC
This is the second time that Walker and Eakes, a small firm of two partners and two associates, has won the pro bono firm award. In 2009 Walker and Eakes has taken on five family law matters helping victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and one immigration case for the Alaska Immigration Justice Project. This was on top of the six cases they took on in 2008, many of which were still pending. These matters have included protection orders, divorce and custody cases and civil litigation on behalf of sexual abuse survivors. This year’s work included helping a family afflicted by cancer get safety from an abusive father and litigating not one but two child sexual abuse cases. Walker and Eakes generous “can do” attitude has created safety and security for many vulnerable Alaskans.
Lifetime Achievement: Dan Rodgers
Dan Rodgers came to Alaska in 1977 and spent over thirty years as an in-house attorney at ARCO and Conoco Phillips. Since retiring in 2007, Dan has volunteered as a full-time staff attorney for the Alaska Immigration Justice Project. But Dan’s volunteer work hardly began with the onset of his retirement; he’s been dedicated to giving back his entire life and career. Dan’s kindness knows no global boundaries. His volunteer work has also extended to Peru where Dan has volunteered for various projects to help the poor and under-privileged through Cross Cultural Solutions and other aid groups. Whether he is litigating a complex asylum claim or cutting hair for abandoned elders in Peru, Dan serves each individual with equal dedication and care.