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2013 Pro Bono Awards

Teka Lamade—Solo Practitioner

Starting out a new practice involves mastering many tasks at once:  learning new areas of the law, how to run a business, and how to build a client base.  For new Sitka solo practitioner Teka Lamade, “helping others” was at the top of her to do list upon opening her practice in the winter of 2012.  Teka was no stranger to giving back; as a staff attorney for the Sitka Tribe of Alaska, she had helped numerous victims of domestic violence and sexual assault escape abusive relationships.  Given this experience she well understood the great need in rural Alaska for pro bono work and immediately put her skills to work.  Over the last 15 months she has helped many victims through the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault with a myriad of matters including protection orders, divorce, paternity, probate, and bankruptcy issues.   She is tenacious in obtaining safe and long-lasting results for her clients.  Most importantly, she understands that pro bono makes good business sense.  For her dedication to pro bono in her first year of solo practice, we are delighted to award Teka Lamade as this year’s Solo Practitioner award recipient. 

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Feldman Orlansky & Sanders and Mark Kroloff--Firm

Feldman Orlansky & Sanders has always been dedicated to doing pro bono.  They have been on the forefront of impact litigation in several areas including death penalty, reproductive rights, voting right and environmental litigation.  And yet 2012 found them once again embarking on a cutting edge pro bono assignment.  Corporate counsel Mark Kroloff offered to take on a family law case and he realized that he was outside of his area of expertise.  Enter Alex Bryner from Feldman, Orlansky & Sanders.  The Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault paired the two up as a unique co-counsel of private practitioner and corporate counsel team to represent a mother in a complicated divorce and custody matter involving issues of physical and sexual abuse.  Together this dynamic duo – with assistance from super paralegal Mary Summers - put in hundreds of hours on this difficult assignment.  Through their dedication, perseverance and talent, they were able to ensure that their client and her four children are now living a life free from fear and violence.  They also proved that difficult assignments can succeed with creative solutions.  This year’s firm award goes to Feldman, Orlansky, & Sanders for their years of innovative pro bono work, and to corporate counsel Mark Kroloff, for jumping into the unknown to help an Alaskan family in need. 

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Dario Borghesan—Government

Dario is known among the legal services provider as the “go to” man at the Attorney General’s Office.  Since joining the Alaska Bar Association in 2010, he has been on the forefront of pro bono in both institutional leadership and volunteerism.  He was instrumental in the development of Governor Parnell’s call to action to attorneys in his Choose Respect campaign by organizing pro bono summits throughout Alaska.  He co-chairs the Attorney General’s in-house pro bono committee which has spent the last year polishing the policy encouraging and allowing Assistant Attorney General’s to do pro bono and routinely walks the halls at 1031 West 4th cajoling his colleagues to take pro bono cases.  His pro bono cases have had the challenges of geography—Unalaska from Anchorage—and language barriers yet it has never kept him from moving forward. 

We’re incredibly thankful to Dario for his steadfast commitment to Alaskans in need. 

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Perkins Coie—Lifetime Achievement

101 years.  That’s how long Perkins Coie has been in existence and 30 of those years have been devoted to bettering the lives of Alaskans through pro bono.  Each of those 30 years, Perkins Coie has been generous in both time and money to ensure that the critical legal needs of the less fortunate are met. They are a true guiding force when it comes to Access to Justice and pro bono issues.

The importance of such support simply cannot be overstated. It’s not a happy story but it’s a true one:  Federal funding for legal services is at a historic low and poverty at a historic high.  This means that legal services providers are forced to turn away hundreds of families with critical legal needs each year simply because they lack the staff, volunteers and resources to help. Perkins Coie has been a leader in action of how to bridge the justice gap.         

What does bridging the justice gap look like at Perkins Coie?  Imagine this:  spear-heading Alaska’s Civil Gideon movement, representing a local domestic violence shelter, assisting yet another low-income tenant.  Lawyers pitching in to do  research for a pro bono attorney needing assistance, making the case to Alaska’s congressional delegation for funding and innovative efforts to encourage other practitioners to take a pro bono case.

The story of Perkins Coie can’t be told in bullet points because it’s about their leadership of being both catalysts and change makers. 

It’s because of their commitment, courage, and generosity that we are honored to award Perkins Coie with a pro bono Lifetime Achievement award. 

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