Allegheny County Bar Foundation Honors Attorneys/Organizations for Significant Pro Bono Services to County Residents

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – September 22, 2005. Six Allegheny County attorneys, several legal organizations, and other individuals were honored last night by the Allegheny County Bar Foundation for their long-term and significant pro bono services to county residents. Some of the award winners have been working on specific pro bono cases or for specific organizations for several years.

The awards ceremony was kicked off by comment from featured speaker, Michael Greco, President of the American Bar Association and a partner in Boston office of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham LLP. Attorney Greco praised the winners and promoted the importance of pro bono services during times of great need.

University of Pittsburgh law professor Jules L. Lobel, Esq., received the Career Achievement Award for Pro Bono Services. Professor Lobel has a long, distinguished record of handling cases involving civil rights, environmental, international, and constitutional law issues. Recently, Mr. Lobel successfully argued a case in the United States Supreme Court on behalf of inmates of an Ohio maximum security prison whose civil liberties were violated when they were not informed of the reasons for their reclassification to a “supermax” facility, where they were held in solitary confinement.

Two attorneys received the Jane F. Hepting Individual Pro Bono Award. They are Ronald J. Fischer, Esq., and Edward J. Kabala, Esq.

Fischer, who is senior general attorney for U.S. Steel Corporation has been instrumental in developing the Anti-predatory Lending Clinic, which will provide legal services to an increasing number of low-income residents facing mortgage foreclosures due to predatory lending practices. Attorney Kabala is the managing partner of the Pittsburgh office of Fox Rothschild, LLP. He has undertaken several pro bono cases for KidsVoice.

Two Pittsburgh law firms received the ACBA Law Firm Pro Bono Award. They are Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote, P.C. and Thorp, Reed & Armstrong, LLP. In October 2004, both of these firms became frontrunners in the legal community when they sponsored the Lawyers On Loan (LOL) Project and each loaned one its attorneys to Neighborhood Legal Services Association (NLSA) for one year. The LOL Project is unique and has received national attention.

The inaugural ACBF Presidential Merit Award was presented to Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham, LLP for its continued and increasing support of pro bono services by its employees. In 2004, the firm employees increased their pro bono hours by 83%.

Former Allegheny County Bar Association President James W. Carroll, Esq., received the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Jeffrey A. Ernico Award for his work promoting pro bono and legal aid services to the neediest.

The Allegheny County Bar Foundation Partnership Award was presented to LexisNexis and to Rita McGinley and the Rita McGinley Foundation of the Pittsburgh Foundation on behalf of their work with Attorneys Against Hunger, which has raised more than $420,000 over the past twelve years to help fight hunger in Allegheny County.

The ACBA Corporate Legal Department Pro Bono Award was given to the Alcoa legal department under the leadership of Jeff Heeter. Alcoa has played an instrumental role in organizing Pittsburgh law firms and corporate legal departments in serving the legal needs of low-income members of our community.

The ACBA Pro Bono Award for New Initiatives was presented to Attorneys F. J. Lucchino and Deborah Kutzavitch for establishing the Uptown Legal Clinic.

Jennifer Lynn Rellis, a third-year law student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, received the ACBA Law Student Pro Bono Award.

Sandi Tedesco was named the recipient of the ACBA Paralegal Pro Bono Award.

Incorporated in 1980, the Allegheny County Bar Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, serves as the philanthropic arm of the Allegheny County Bar Association. The foundation operates a variety of charitable, educational, pro bono, and public service activities.