Editor’s note: The following announcement is reprinted with permission from the Utah State Bar.
The Utah State Bar has announced its annual Pro Bono Publico Awards for 2018. The awards honor attorneys who have made significant contributions to the community through Pro Bono efforts. Categories include Young Lawyer (under 36 years old or less than five years in practice), Law Student or Law School Group and Law Firm. The awards are announced in conjunction with the annual Law Day celebration. Law Day is May 1.
In 2018, the winners included Sam Noel as the Young Lawyer winner; Bangerter, Frazier & Graff as the Law Firm winner; and, in a three-way tie, Josephine Hall of the S.J. Quinney School of Law, Melissa Fiso of BYU Law School, and Katherine Pepin, also of S.J. Quinney School of Law, as the Law Student winners.
Noel, an attorney for Lowenstein Sandler’s Utah office in Centerville, contributed more than 157 hours to the firm’s 19,318 hours of Pro Bono Service. Working through organizations such as Mi Casa, California Lawyers for the Arts, and Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, Noel assisted clients in patent and business matters. He graduated from J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU in 2015.
“Sam broadcasts compassion and empathy to everyone he meets, regardless of their state in life,” Kevin O. Grange, head of Lowenstein Sandler’s Patent Office in Utah. “He has been instrumental in breathing life into our Pro Bono efforts here in Utah.”
The Law Firm winner, Bangerter, Frazier & Graff, of St. George, have facilitated the staffing of the “Talk to a Lawyer” free legal clinic at the Southern Utah Community Legal Center in St. George, Utah. Besides signing up for the twice-monthly clinic, three of the firm’s attorneys, Bill Frazier, Jake Graff and Lane Wood often took shifts when other attorneys had conflicts or emergencies. In one instance, Wood made a “house call” when the client couldn’t come to the Center due to a medical issue.
Frazier also serves as a volunteer on the Southern Utah Bar Association board, and joins Wood and Graff in taking Pro Bono cases.
“This firm is a champion at encouraging attorney volunteerism for various programs,” said Holly Webb, of Utah Legal Services, who nominated the firm.
Fiso, one of the student winners, is a third-year student at J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU. She has served as a family law intern at Utah Legal Services, and volunteered at Timpanogos Legal Center in Utah County. She is a regular volunteer at the Center’s Family Justice Clinic, as well as Document Drafting program of the Center. She has also assisted in poverty law, domestic violence law, and landlord/tenant issues.
“Our clients appreciate her demeanor, her kindness, her patience, and her diligent efforts to serve them on their cases,” said Brooke Robinson, program manager at Timpanogos Legal Center.
Hall, a student at S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah, is a Pro Bono Initiative Law Fellow and has donated over 60 hours of Pro Bono work, including with the Rainbow Law Clinic working on improving access to justice for LGBTQIA individuals in Utah. In addition she has enrolled in many clinical opportunities serving the public — with the Salt Lake Legal Defender’s Association, the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center, and the Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake.
“Josie is a true champion for the underserved in our community,” said JoLynn Spruance, Director, Pro Bono Initiative at the S.J. Quinney College of Law. “She is held in high esteem by the faculty and her classmates view her as a true leader.”
Pepin, also a student as S.J. Quinney, has volunteered over 210 hours as the student director of the Street Law Clinic and is a Pro Bono Initiative Law Student Fellow. During her second year, Pepin began doing clinical work at Rocky Mountain Innocence Center.
“She clearly had a passion for the issues involved and was excited for the opportunity to participate,” Spruance said.
Pepin has been operating the Community Legal Clinic and oversees operation of the Pro Bono Initiative’s online volunteer signup system.
“I worked with Katey at several Pro Bono clinics,” said Gabriela Mena, a classmate of Pepin’s. “Not only did she volunteer herself, she was outstanding at getting others to sign up to volunteer.”
Following graduation in May, Pepin will join the firm of Clyde Snow & Sessions.
The Pro Bono Publico Awards will be given at the Law Day Luncheon at Little America Hotel on April 30.