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Make a Nomination

The Fifth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Service Award will be presented to one or more lawyers practicing in the Fifth Judicial Circuit who have provided outstanding pro bono services to low-income individuals or charitable organizations in the last year. Nominations for these awards are now open.

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 Fifth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee and announced in September. They will be recognized at the Celebrate Pro Bono Dinner on Tuesday, October 25th at the Mattoon Country Club.

Nominations are due by Wednesday, September 7th. If you have any questions, please reach out to Abigail Causer by email or at 217-693-6017.

Past Award Recipients:

Judy Baker (2021)

Judy Baker is a devoted advocate within the community and has had a particularly strong impact in family law cases. Over the past three years, Judy has taken on numerous divorce cases from the circuit and closed them within the consecutive year, an impressive feat to say the least. She doesn’t shy away from difficult cases and has taken the initiative to advocate for her clients and protect them from abuse and restore a sense of safety. She is considered one of the most consistent pro bono attorneys in Coles County. When she has not had a recent referral, she reaches out for a new client to help. Judy graduated from SIU-Carbondale School of Law in 1991, after receiving her undergraduate degree from Eastern Illinois University. She is currently a partner at the Law Offices of Winter-Black & Baker.

David Ryan (2020)
Brent Holmes (2019)
Hallie Bezner (2018)
Richard Dahlenburg (2018)
Kevin Dixon (2018)
Alia Horwick (2018)
Kaylan Huber (2018)
Sandra Lawlyes (2018)
Andrew Mudd (2018)
Kent Heller (2017)
Jason Hortenstine (2016)
Carton Kagawa (2016)
Kevin Colombo (2015)
Karen Fuqua (2014)
Richard M. Kash, Jr. (2013)
Paul E. Wieck (2012)

*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.”