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Photo: Ed Eliasberg

2012 Government Pro Bono Award: Ed Eliasberg (DOJ, Antitrust Division)

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Ed Eliasberg is a career government lawyer who has served as a staff attorney with the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department for over 35 years. When the Department of Justice launched its Pro Bono Program in 1996, Ed was one of the first attorneys to become involved. After obtaining a successful outcome in his first pro bono case — in which he represented a blind client against a furniture company — Ed became a leading model of a government attorney committed to pro bono work. Attorneys familiar with Eliasberg’s pro bono efforts describe him as a “true believer” in public service and as a person who “leads by example.”

Ed participated the first time the Antitrust Division staffed the D.C. Bar Advice and Referral Clinic in 1998 and has both attended and recruited volunteers for nearly every clinic since then. In 2005, he became the Antitrust Division’s Pro Bono Coordinator and an active member of DOJ’s Pro Bono Committee. Ed’s colleagues have recognized his “uncommon commitment to pro bono work,” demonstrated by the numerous pro bono fairs, committee events, and brown bag lunches he has organized over the years. Another colleagues notes that he is constantly searching for “new, innovative ways to the get the word out” about pro bono opportunities.

Ed has also been instrumental in expanding federal government pro bono programs outside of Washington, D.C. He helped launch the now-thriving Pro Bono Program in Chicago, Illinois, and was active in securing the full support of the Division’s leadership for the project. The success of the Chicago program has led to the creation of similar pro bono programs in New York City, San Francisco, and Denver.

Asked about his recognition by the Washington Council of Lawyers, Ed said that he hopes this award will help “encourage more government lawyers to do more pro bono work.”

Want to learn more? Attend next month’s Awards Ceremony – featuring a keynote speech by State Department Legal Advisor Harold Koh.