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Current Pro Bono Award Recipients

Bryan P. Timbers Pro Bono Award(s)

Each year Alaska’s pro bono service providers select the recipients of the annual Bryan P. Timbers pro bono awards.  2023 marked the 34th anniversary of this award and recognition of excellence in our community’s access to justice efforts. This year’s award recipients are Andrea Hattan, Michael Mitchell, and Stoel Rives, LLP.


Michael Mitchell practices under the Emeritus Rule—a Bar rule which allows members with either a retired or inactive status to practice law for the sole purpose of doing pro bono for one or more of the approved legal services providers. Nominated by his sponsoring agency of the Institute for Justice, Michael was unable to be here today but has provided the following remarks about his experience.

“Thank you for this award; I’m sorry I’m unable to be there to accept it in person.

Working on this asylum case has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my career. My client entered the southern border of the U.S. in 2016 at 17 years old, having travelled alone from Central America through Mexico to escape gender-based assault. She was placed in a children’s detention facility and eventually was released to a relative in rural Alaska. Her case was referred to me and we submitted her asylum application in 2017. Although the asylum officer seemed sympathetic to her plight, asylum was denied on the grounds that Elena had not suffered “persecution” as that term was construed. We appealed and waited. And waited. Meanwhile Elena graduated high school, attended college, and found employment. She worked and studied her way up from minimum wage jobs to become a medical assistant serving rural Alaska.

Last year we were able to convince the Department of Homeland Security to close her then-imminent deportation case in a way that enabled Elena to renew her work permit and contribute to her community.  Six years and an administration later, gender-based violence still has not been established as a basis for asylum and Elena does not yet have a clear path to citizenship. But she is optimistic and hard-working, an inspiration.

I want to thank the Alaska Institute of Justice, and especially Dan Rodgers, for their mentorship and assistance, and also recognize the invaluable research resources provided by the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies in San Francisco. In closing, I urge you to support immigration law reform, which is sorely needed and which should be a bipartisan cause.”


44 years.  That’s how long Stoel Rives has been in existence and 15 of those years have been devoted to bettering the lives of Alaskans through pro bono.  Each of those 15 years, Stoel Rives has been generous in both time and money to ensure that the critical legal needs of the less fortunate are met. They are a true guiding force when it comes to Access to Justice and pro bono issues.

The importance of such support simply cannot be overstated. It’s not a happy story but it’s a true one:  Federal funding for legal services is at a historic low and poverty at a historic high.  This means that legal services providers are forced to turn away hundreds of families with critical legal needs each year simply because they lack the staff, volunteers and resources to help. Stoel Rives has been a leader in action of how to bridge the justice gap.          

What does bridging the justice gap look like at Stoel Rives?  In the year since being the 2022 firm pro bono award recipient, Stoel attorneys have assisted a 15 year old girl from Columbia obtain her permanent residency through a yearlong process, filed a lawsuit on behalf of a nonprofit that was swindled out of tens of thousands of dollars by out Outside service provider who reneged on contractual promises that is ongoing with anticipated trial in December, helping Alaskans navigate appeals for the SNAP benefits, assisted a suicide prevention charity get registered in Alaska, and all while continuing to assist on individual pro bono cases on behalf of Alaska’s legal services providers.

We are honored to award Stoel Rives with a pro bono Lifetime Achievement award in recognition of their commitment, courage, and generosity to Alaskans in need.   

Please join me in welcoming Kevin Cuddy of Stoel to the stage to accept the award on behalf of the firm.


Andrea grew up in Fairbanks and we are so excited to celebrate her accomplishments here in her hometown. She currently works in Juneau at the NOAA Office of General Counsel, which she came to after over a decade working outside and in Anchorage for the U.S. Department of Justice as a federal prosecutor. 

When Andrea moved back to Alaska, she heard about the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault’s Legal Program and her interest was piqued in volunteering. In 2020, she attended an ANDVSA CLE, and soon thereafter volunteered for her first ANDVSA Legal Hotline shift. While she had no previous experience in family law, Andrea says the CLE gave her the confidence to volunteer for the hotline and to join ANDVSA Legal Program Director Christine Pate as co-counsel on a divorce and custody trial.  Andrea donated approximately 100 hours to that 2020 case. 

Since then, Andrea volunteered to staff the ANDVSA Legal Hotline a total of 14 times, helped draft a section of the ANDVSA Volunteer Family Law Manual, and is currently assisting a pro se ANDVSA client.

Andrea says she is moved to volunteer by a desire and sense of responsibility to better our state. Alaska unfortunately has some of the highest rates of domestic violence and sexual assault in the nation. Andrea says that she sees it as a privilege to use her legal education to directly help Alaskans who are in dangerous situations on their journey to a brighter, safer future.

We are so grateful to Andrea for the incredible initiative and diligence she has shown in providing pro bono service to survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Especially as she does not come from a family law background, it is so impressive to see the gumption and thoughtfulness that she has shown in diving into this work. We are inspired by her work ethic, the compassion she has for her clients, and her desire to do good.

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