Balch & Bingham Named Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year by the Alabama State Bar
Balch & Bingham has been recognized as Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year by the Alabama State Bar at the Bar’s annual meeting held in Destin Florida, on June 27 – 30, 2018. For the past 20 years, the Alabama State Bar has recognized an Alabama law firm for its commitment to pro bono initiatives.
The 2018 Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year Award recognizes Balch’s pro bono efforts provided through Volunteer Lawyers Birmingham. Volunteer Lawyers Birmingham was created in 1994 by leaders in the Birmingham Bar Association to promote access to justice by inspiring volunteer attorneys to provide high-quality representation at no charge to low-income families with basic civil legal needs at critical times in their lives. The organization annually helps upwards of 3,300 clients resolve their legal issues.
Balch has been a dedicated partner of the Volunteer Lawyers Birmingham Program for more than a decade, regularly providing pro bono legal counsel and services to those in need in the Birmingham metropolitan area. Collectively, Balch lawyers have contributed more than 500 volunteer hours, assisting low-income and other pro bono clients statewide over the last 12 months. Balch attorneys regularly volunteer at Volunteer Lawyers Birmingham’s Bankruptcy Help Desk, Civil Help Desk, Domestic Relations Help Desk, Homeless Help Desk, and Veterans Help Desk. Attorney volunteers from Balch also represent clients in extended representation pro bono cases and often appear in court on behalf of low-income clients. Similar pro bono efforts exist across the firm’s other offices in Mississippi, Georgia, Florida and Washington D.C. Chris Yielding, partner and member of the Litigation Practice, is the vice president of the Volunteer Lawyers Birmingham Board of Directors and is slated to be the president in 2019.
“Balch & Bingham attorneys are consistent volunteers with our program. It seems that whenever we have a help desk, clinic or need help with a client, a Balch attorney is there to volunteer,” said Nancy Yarbrough, executive director, Volunteer Lawyers Birmingham.
The Alabama State Bar Pro Bono Awards recognizes the outstanding pro bono efforts of attorneys, mediators, law firms and law students in the state. The award criteria includes the total number of pro bono hours or complexity of cases handled, impact of the pro bono work and benefit for the poor, particular expertise provided or the particular need satisfied, successful recruitment of other attorneys for pro bono representation, and proven commitment to the delivery of quality legal services to the poor and to providing equal access to legal services.
“I am proud of the commitment of our attorneys across our seven offices who contribute their talents to support important pro bono initiatives that help make a critical impact in the lives of people in need. Volunteer Lawyers Birmingham is a great example of an organization that promotes access to the civil legal system for people who cannot afford legal representation – we are honored to have the opportunity to work alongside it and other organizations that work tirelessly to meet the needs of our communities,” said Stan Blanton, managing partner, Balch & Bingham.
For nearly a century, Balch & Bingham attorneys have contributed thousands of pro bono hours each year to help provide equal access to justice and have served in leadership positions in many community organizations across our footprint that improve our communities.
In addition to receiving the 2018 Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year award, the Alabama State Bar Diversity Committee recognized Balch with a Sponsorship Award of Appreciation for the firm’s support of the committee’s diversity activities throughout the year. The Alabama State Bar Diversity Committee is dedicated to developing relationships with other entities in and outside the Alabama State Bar to increase educational and professional opportunities for women and minorities and promoting diversity principles in law school admission.
“We are proud to support the efforts of the Alabama State Bar’s Diversity Committee as we work together to enhance diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. The committee’s achievements align with Balch’s diversity mission. Among other things, the committee successfully hosted an educational minority pre-law conference for young people considering a legal career, conducted outreach to facilitate better inclusion of Alabama’s diverse lawyers, and encouraged important dialogues about diversity and inclusion. We are honored to be a part of this great work,” said Kelly F. Pate, chair, Balch & Bingham Diversity Committee.