Beasley Allen is the 2021 Pro Bono Fairness Award winner, an award sponsored by Legal Services Alabama (LSA). The award recognizes individuals or law firms in Alabama that demonstrated a consistent commitment to pro bono work and access to justice. The Fairness Award made its debut last year. The inaugural honoree was Mary Margaret Bailey of Mobile, who is current President of the Alabama Law Foundation and previously President of the Mobile Bar Foundation.
LSA serves low-income people by providing civil legal aid and promoting collaboration to find solutions to poverty-related problems. In 2004, LSA formed when three legal services organizations in Alabama – the Montgomery-based Legal Services Corporation of Alabama, the Metro Birmingham Legal Services, and the Huntsville-based Legal Services of North-Central Alabama – merged. Building on these three organizations’ incredible advocacy, LSA continues this legacy by providing high-quality advocacy to over 10,000 low-income Alabamians.
It is an honor for LSA to recognize Beasley Allen’s dedication to ensuring that Alabama’s underserved and disenfranchised populations can access the civil justice system. We are thankful for LSA’s support provided to our firm and other lawyers across that state as we all donate time, knowledge and skills.
People familiar with our firm know that our motto is “helping those who need it most,” and it is more than mere words for lawyers and staff alike. It is a passion that drives us to do what we do for our clients. That commitment includes providing pro bono legal services. As the firm has grown, encompassing multiple office locations and many complex cases nationwide, it is essential to have a central repository of its pro bono work.
Beasley Allen’s firm leadership created a Pro Bono Coordinator position in 2020 and selected Beasley Allen lawyer, Leslie Pescia, as the first Coordinator. Leslie manages the firm’s pro bono activities and serves as the point person for the firm’s lawyers handling pro bono cases across each of the firm’s practice sections and all office locations. Our lawyers donate hundreds of pro bono hours each year; through handling cases and projects organized by various Volunteer Lawyer Programs.
The Fairness Award is one of three awards LSA will present during its 2021 Justice, Fairness and Hope Awards reception that will be held virtually on May 5. The LSA will also present retired Judge John H. England Jr. (Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court) the Tommy Wells Justice Award. Stacey Abrams will receive the Congressman John Lewis Hope Award.
As the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the country in 2020, legal issues surrounding the virus added to and exacerbated existing social justice issues. The Legal Services Corporation, a national nonprofit that is a parent organization of LSA, received $50 million through the 2020 CARES Act stimulus package Congress passed in response to COVID-19. LSA received a portion of the CARES Act money, which it will use to fund the Fellowship’s first year. Currently, LSA supports six fellows and funds raised during the Justice, Fairness & Hope Awards virtual reception will help maintain funding for the Fellows’ program.