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Photo: Awards Recipients Collage

2020 Awards Ceremony

Our virtual 2020 Awards Ceremony brought all the warmth and inspiration our public interest community brings every day to helping those in need. We came together to give a special thank you to our award recipients for the work that they do to serve our community.

The Law Firm Award recipient Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP has been a dedicated partner of Washington Council of Lawyers and the public-interest community for years. The firm is a leader in the community, known for the strength and breadth of the pro bono work the firm undertakes, and provided pro bono assistance to two of our important advocacy projects. The firm has also been a staunch supporter of our most iconic educational programming and community-building events. Lastly, we are grateful to the firm’s encouragement of their attorney’s participation in outside organizations such as ours. Fried Frank’s Public Service Counsel, Karen Grisez has been an active member of our Board of Directors and our Pro Bono and Public-Interest Committee for many years. We are proud to call Fried Frank a partner and excited to honor them for their contributions to our community.

Jospehine “Jo” Bahn of the FDIC is truly a force of nature. Colleagues wonder when she sleeps as she routinely has 5 open pro bono cases on top of her day job and a new family. We were honored to present her with our Government Pro Bono Award. Not only did she dedicate 1000 hours of individual pro bono service in 2020, but she also mentors other pro bono lawyers and holds various leadership roles with the ABA and local bars. She is a shining example of service to others.

Our Legal Services Award went to Allison Miles-Lee from Bread for the City for her career-long dedication to helping DC residents living with low income to develop their power to determine the future of their own communities. Allison has an active practice AND supervises Bread’s public benefits lawyers and their participation in Child Support Project AND leads the charge on language access. She does all of this while always giving of her time to the next generation of social justice warriors and being one of the best of the profession. Allison is an unsung hero no longer!

Lastly, were thrilled to award Paul Smith, currently Vice President of Litigation and Strategy at the Campaign Legal Center and Professor from Practice at Georgetown University Law Center, with the Presidents Award for Public Service. Paul is recognized nationally as a legal icon, but we know him as a past president of Washington Council of Lawyers, an unparalleled force for change, and a truly kind and giving individual. During his more than two-decade career at Jenner & Block, Paul argued some of the most important civil rights cases before the Supreme Court of our generation. Without Paul, many of the freedoms we cherish most would have been curtailed or taken away. He is truly a legend.

At the end of this challenging year, our community needed an opportunity to come together, share inspiration, celebrate good work, and reflect on the life-changing contributions of public-interest and pro bono lawyers. We were delighted to share this evening with friends old and new and such dedicated social justice advocates!

For more inspiration, rewatch the tribute video to Paul Smith!


Photo: Matt Howard Fried Frank Law Firm Award     Photo: Jo Bahn Government Pro Bono Award

Photo: Allison Miles-Lee Legal Services Award       Photo: Paul Smith Presidents Award for Public Service



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