Bryan P. Timbers Pro Bono Award(s): These awards recognize the extraordinary pro bono efforts of small/solo practitioners, law firms, and public sector agencies toward closing the justice gap to Alaskans with civil legal needs. 2021 marks the 32nd anniversary of this award and recognition of excellence in our community’s access to justice efforts.
Private practitioner: Scott Sterling
A career long supporter of Alaska Legal Services Corporation (ALSC), Scott Sterling is a partner with Sterling and De Armond, PC in Wasilla. With over 1,000 volunteer hours for ALSC, Scott’s wealth of experience is further complimented by his strong sense of empathy and compassion for his clients. He has always made himself available, despite a demanding private practice schedule, and has helped mentor at least one staff attorney at ALSC.
Scott Sterling has been an incredible pro bono attorney volunteer for ALSC, recently jumping into multiple matters on behalf of a severely disabled family to advocate for substantial settlements that will change the lives of a single mother and her four children. He is a tireless advocate who has dedicated literally hundreds of hours, even during his vacation, to help this family in need.
Scott has taken 15 family law pro bono cases since 1996, and also regularly volunteers for the Palmer Early Resolution Project. Scott’s commitment to ALSC’s mission, and his pro bono advocacy has helped both the organization and countless Alaskans in need.
Public sector: Dave Jones
After recently retiring from the Department of Law, Dave started volunteering with the Pro Bono Asylum Project at the Alaska Institute for Justice. Since 2018 Dave has represented clients from Central and South America who fled violence and persecution in their home countries and are now seeking a safe place to live and work here in Alaska. Dave keenly recognizes the value of legal representation for people trying to navigate a sometimes byzantine immigration system.
Dave advocates aggressively for his clients, recognizing the many challenges asylum seekers face in Alaska, including language barriers, and both immigration and non-immigration legal issues. Dave prepared a defensive asylum case for a Central American woman currently in immigration court removal proceedings, who fled to the United States after suffering domestic violence and persecution from gangs. Dave is currently representing a couple and their young daughter who fled their home in South American due to persecution and death threats by an insurgent militia group. He has filed affirmative applications for them with the asylum office, applied for work permits, and has represented them in non-immigration legal matters where legal input was critical. Dave does all this while also volunteering with Habitat for Humanity.
Thank you Dave for recognizing the critical need for legal representation, and helping to meet that need with such commitment to your clients.
Law firm: Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP
In summer 2020, attorneys from the Anchorage office of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP contacted the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault about starting a dedicated project at the firm where they would take pro bono domestic violence protective order cases. ANDVSA was thrilled to have a firm step up – unsolicited no less! – to take on this much needed work.
Davis Wright Tremaine hosted a training provided by ANDVSA in July 2020 that covered the basics of domestic violence protective order law and working with clients who have experienced trauma. The firm agreed that one experienced attorney, Chad Darcy, would be ANDVSA’s main point of contact for making pro bono referrals.
Since then, when ANDVSA has reached out for help, Davis Wright Tremaine has answered the call. In the past year, attorneys from the firm, including Chad Darcy, Joseph Reece, Anne Marie Tavella, and Patti Vecera, have taken on five protective order cases and one related real estate matter, helping clients around the state in Anchorage, Kotzebue, Homer, and Nome. Some of the cases have been challenging – clients unsure if they want to move forward with their case, clients with difficult factual issues, and clients feeling unheard by the judicial system. In each case, the Davis Wright Tremaine attorneys have worked diligently with their clients to make sure their safety needs are met.
Thank you, Davis Wright Tremaine, for your great pro bono service!