For the past 30 years, the non-profit arm of the State Bar of Arizona has been increasing access to justice for all Arizonans. The Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education, a 501(c)3 organization, goes about its mission through providing technical and financial assistance to those in need, along with securing and maintaining strategic partnerships.
On Thursday, June 19, the following individuals were honored at the foundation's luncheon kicking off the State Bar of Arizona Convention.
***William Michael Flood***
***2008 Walter E. Craig Distinguished Services Award***
~Recognizes adherence to the highest principles and traditions of the legal profession and service to the public in the community in which he or she lives.~
After graduating with distinction from the University of Arizona Law School in 1965, William Michael Flood spent nearly 40 years practicing law for Jennings, Strouss & Salmon.
During his lengthy professional career, Flood's primary focus was on the defense of personal injury lawsuit where he tried more than 100 cases in state and federal courts and served as mediator and arbitrator in various dispute resolutions. He has also served as a judge pro tem on both the Arizona Court of Appeals and Maricopa County Superior Court.
Flood has served posts in several professional organizations, including as past president of the Arizona Association of Defense Counsel and as a founding fellow of the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education.
He is also involved in many community-based organizations such as the Arizona Law College Association, the St. Thomas Moore Society, the Catholic Community Foundation Legacy Committee, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and the Florence Crittendon Home.
Often described as "a humble man who represents all that is good about the legal profession" by his peers, Flood's extraordinary commitment to both his profession and community make him an exemplary recipient of this year's Walter E. Craig Distinguished Services Award.
***2008 William E. Morris Pro Bono Service Award***
~Recognizes extraordinary contributions in making legal services available to persons who otherwise could not afford them and thereby focuses public awareness on the substantial contributions Arizona attorneys make to the community.~
Debra Hill, a partner in the Phoenix law firm of Osborn Maledon, P.A., actively infuses her knowledge of the law with her dedication to public and community service.
For many years, Hill has been involved in the representation of detainees and inmates in the state prison system on matters that relate to their mental and physical well-being. It is for her commitment to representing this population that Hill was nominated by her peers for the William E. Morris Pro Bono Service Award.
Her community and civic participation extends to her continued involvement with Homeward Bound, an organization that assists homeless families with children achieve economic independence, where she once served as chair of the organization's board of directors.
Hill's leadership in both the legal profession and community service is evidenced by her further involvement in Arizona Town Hall, Fiesta Bowl Committee, Foundation for Global Leadership, Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice and as a partner in Social Venture Partners of Arizona.
***2008 Foundation for Justice Award***
~Awarded to the attorney who has devoted expertise and time so that the system of justice has increased access and opportunity for those most vulnerable.~
Pima County Superior Court Commissioner Frederic Dardis has devoted his career to assuring the courts are available to all who need them. Immediately after his swearing in, he began work on many innovative pro bono initiatives that have since become permanent fixtures in our legal community.
The first of these initiatives, the Child Support Project, was launched in 2001. Through the project, volunteer attorneys supervise law students as they meet with unrepresented litigants prior to final divorce hearings in Superior Court. He then set his sights on probate court and in 2005 launched the Guardianship of Minors Project. Under the supervision of a volunteer attorney, students meet with unrepresented clients at their guardianship hearings and offer their recommendations to the court as to whether the client should be awarded a guardianship.
In addition to his tangible contributions to increase access to the courts, Dardis also provides invaluable strength, leadership, wisdom, and support to increase opportunities for legal representation through the Volunteer Lawyers Program in Pima County.
***Pam and Bill Gates***
***2008 Mark Santana Law Related Education Attorneys of the Year Award***
~Recognizing exceptional contributions of Arizona attorneys or law firms in furthering education and understanding of the role of the law in our democratic society, this award focuses public awareness on the contributions that attorneys provide to the community.~
For many years, Pam and Bill Gates have shared their love for and knowledge of the law with students and educators throughout Maricopa County and the State of Arizona.
As passionately dedicated volunteers, the Gates' have donated countless hours providing hands-on technical assistance with Arizona's Mock Trial program where their roles have ranged from volunteer attorney coaches, working directly with students, to hosts for the annual statewide Mock Trial Tournament, where more than 40 teams compete.
In addition to their involvement with the Mock Trial program, the Gates' have served as faculty and educators to school teachers, staff and safety officers on issues of law and civics. Nominated by their peers, they serve as tireless advocates to increase law related education among Arizona youth and other civic leaders.
Top Arizona pro bono attorneys honored
Honored for "their hard work, dedication, courage and unselfish gifts of time and talent" in providing legal services to low income clients, the following 50 pro bono attorneys were also recognized at the Foundation's luncheon.
Selection criteria included number of pro bono cases accepted, hours donated and overall commitment to pro bono work.
Donald Bayles Jr.
Hon. Tom Berning
Hon. Jeffrey Cates
Robert Howard Jr.
Phillip Jay McCarthy Jr.