(CHICAGO) Participating in the American Bar Association's annual Free Legal Answers Pro Bono program, Katten attorneys fielded more than 100 questions asked by seniors, veterans and other income-eligible individuals pertaining to a range of issues, from unemployment and disability to housing and homelessness, and was named an ABA 2020 Pro Bono Leader.
In a letter sent to Jonathan Baum, senior counsel at Katten and director of pro bono services for the firm, David F. Bienvenu, chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, informed Baum of Katten's distinction as a pro bono leader. Bienvenu complimented the firm's "sincere dedication to pro bono service," and attached a certificate in recognition of the 119 civil legal questions that 12 Katten attorneys from throughout the firm addressed as part of the program.
"Through your firm's exceptional pro bono service, you are helping to ensure that tens of thousands of low-income individuals across this country are receiving the legal help they deserve," Bienvenu wrote, adding that the certificate "highlights the impact that volunteers like you have made."
The ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service presents the annual recognition to individual attorneys, law firms, corporate law departments and other organizations that have provided extraordinary pro bono services through the ABA Free Legal Answers program. Katten was one of 22 legal groups nationally that received the recognition for 2020.
"This recognition acknowledges Katten attorneys who donated their time and skills during a global pandemic that paused life as we know it. The honor also underscores our firm's longstanding commitment to helping people in need," said Baum, who, when he started at Katten nearly 30 years ago, was one of few law firm partners nationally to focus exclusively on the delivery of pro bono work.
During a virtual ceremony for the firm's annual Pro Bono Service Awards, Baum joined Katten chairman Roger Furey and guest speaker Judge Ann Claire Williams, a retired judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, to honor 14 Katten attorneys.
With the help of several corporate sponsors in addition to the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, ABAFreeLegalAnswers.org is an on-line virtual legal clinic through which income-eligible clients can post civil legal services questions to be answered by pro bono attorneys from the appropriate legal jurisdiction. Since the site launched in 2016, nearly 9,000 attorneys have volunteered to answer more than 145,000 questions from individuals in low-income communities, many of them military veterans and seniors.