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Make a Nomination

The Third Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Service Award will be presented to one or more lawyers practicing in the Third Judicial Circuit who have provided outstanding pro bono services to low-income individuals and charitable organizations in the last year.

You may submit a self-nomination or nominate a colleague, and you may also submit multiple nominations. The awards are intended to recognize pro bono legal services rendered in the last twelve months. The pro bono work may be performed through a legal aid agency or on your own so long as it meets the definition provided for in Illinois Supreme Court Rule 756*. It only takes 5-10 minutes to complete the nomination form.

Award recipients will be chosen by the Third Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee and announced in September. They will be recognized at the Celebrate Pro Bono Luncheon on Tuesday, October 18th in Edwardsville.

The nominations deadline has been extended to Wednesday, September 14th. If you have any questions, please reach out to Abigail Causer by email or at 217-693-6017.

Award Recipient:


Janel began her career working with victims of domestic violence for Land of Lincoln Legal Aid out of their Alton office. Currently, she runs a private practice in Edwardsville, Illinois. Janel is a reliable practitioner and can be called upon at any time to serve as Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) or mediator or counsel in the most challenging of family cases and juvenile abuse matters. She always makes time in her schedule and has never balked, even in the most difficult of circumstances. Colleagues have emphasized that Janel serves with kindness and compassion and has had a profoundly impactful career in Madison County. She graduated from SIU-Carbondale School of Law in 2002, after receiving her undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa in Political Science and Psychology.

Pro Bono Service Award Recipient: Deborah Crouse Cobb (2020)
Pro Bono Service Award: Dave Fahrenkamp (2019)
Rising Pro Bono Star Award: Rebecca Hausman (2019)
Leonard F. Berg, Attorney at Law (2018)
Pro Bono Community Award: Ted N. Gianaris, Simmons Hanly Conroy (2018)
Pro Bono Firm of the Year: HeplerBroom LLC (2017)
Pro Bono Attorney of the Year: Terrence O’Leary, Bosslet & O’Leary, Ltd. (2017)
Rising Pro Bono Star: Zachary Pashea, HeplerBroom LLC (2017)
Simmons Hanly Conroy (2016)
Leslie Wood (2016)
Jennifer Shaw (2015)
Rising Pro Bono Star Award: Trent Cameron (2015)
Tanja M. Cook (2014)
Judge Ralph Mendelsohn (2013)
Elizabeth "Nikki" Carrion (2012)
The Honorable Lola Maddox (2011)
Michael Meehan (2010)
Deborah Crouse Cobb (2010)
Gail Donnelly Bader (2009)
Erin Reilly (2008)

*Illinois Supreme Court Rule 756(f) defines pro bono as: legal services without charge or expectation of a fee to persons of limited means; legal services to charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental or educational organizations in matters designed to address the needs of persons of limited means; legal services to charitable, religious, civic or community organizations in furtherance of their organizational purpose; or training intended to benefit legal aid organizations or lawyers who provide pro bono services. According to Rule 756(f), "persons of limited means" are not only those persons with household incomes below the federal poverty standard but also those persons frequently referred to as the “working poor.”