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Make a Nomination

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

In 2023, the Committee will also present the inaugural Judge Barbara Crowder Pro Bono Champion Award to a courthouse staff person or member of the Judiciary who demonstrate their support for pro bono in the courthouse on a regular basis. Although this awardee may not provide direct pro bono legal services, their support is vital in promoting access to justice in the Third Judicial Circuit.

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 24th in Edwardsville.

The nominations deadline is Wednesday, September 13th. If you have any questions, please reach out to Abigail Causer by email or at 217-693-6017.

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Past Award Recipients:

Christopher currently maintains a private practice in Alton and serves the southern Illinois community as a trial attorney and mediator in civil and domestic relations disputes. He serves frequently as Guardian Ad Litem for the Third Judicial Circuit in the family and probate divisions. Christopher extensively uses his talent and time to volunteer for Catholic Charities and the Third Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee. He has spoken regularly at Pro Bono Committee seminars on a variety of topics relating to his numerous areas of practice. He has served as Pro Bono Guardian Ad Litem in difficult and lengthy adoption and family cases. Christopher obtained his Bachelor of Arts with high honors from MacMurray College in Jacksonville, IL and graduated from St. Louis University School of Law.

Pro Bono Service Award: Janel Freeman (2021)
Pro Bono Service Award: 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.”