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Pro bono work wins Tulane alumni honors nationally, statewide

June 12, 2015


The American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service is recognizing Leslie Silverstein (L ’88), a solo practitioner in Portland, Maine, for her volunteer work on behalf of needy clients.

Pro bono work done by Tulane Law graduates across the United States and abroad has been recognized with awards from the American Bar Association and the Louisiana State Bar Association.

The ABA’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service chose Leslie Silverstein (L ’88), a solo practitioner in Portland, Maine, as one of five winners of its annual awards for “outstanding commitment to volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged.”

Silverstein, who specializes in disability cases and family law, started her own firm in 2001 and frequently is honored within the Maine legal community for her pro bono dedication. The ABA will present the award Aug. 1 in Chicago during the organization’s annual meeting.


The Louisiana State Bar Association presented a Law Student Pro Bono Award to Brittany Wolf (L ’15) for her work starting a Global Brigades chapter at Tulane Law School to provide volunteer legal services to needy communities in Panama.

LSBA pro bono winners were celebrated May 19 at the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Brittany Wolf, a 2015 graduate, won an LSBA Law Student Pro Bono Award for starting a Law and Human Rights chapter of the international nonprofit Global Brigades at Tulane Law. In December 2013, the chapter started taking students to rural areas of Panama to provide legal services. Wolf trained students, organized fundraising and coordinated with Panamanian attorneys to arrange the project. Annual trips are continuing, with Tulane sending both law and business students to assist residents with their legal needs. Wolf is set to start as a staff attorney with the Louisiana Supreme Court.

The LSBA recognized four Tulane alumni with Pro Bono Publico awards for their contributions:

Joseph R. Ballard (L ’83), managing counsel of Entergy’s legal department’s Baton Rouge office, who serves as supervising attorney for the Family Court self-help desk in East Baton Rouge Parish.

Valerie Briggs Bargas (L ’01), a founding partner at Kinchen, Walker, Bienvenu, Bargas, Reed & Helm, who hosts the Wills for Heroes project in Baton Rouge and helped launch the Louisiana Campaign to Preserve Civil Legal Aid.

Benjamin W. Kadden (L ’05), a shareholder in Lugenbuhl, Wheaton, Peck, Rankin & Hubbard, who works as a member of the Pro Bono Professional Network for New Orleans-based nonprofit incubator Propeller.

Michael Magner (L ’82), a Jones Walker partner, who worked with the Innocence Project of New Orleans to secure an exoneration for Reginald Adams, who spent 34 years in prison after being wrongly convicted of murder.

Six more Tulanians were among lawyers honored with the LSBA’s Century Award for volunteering more than 100 hours of legal services during 2014:

Amy M. Bernadas (L ’03), partner at Krebs, Farley & Pelleteri in New Orleans

William G. Cherbonnier Jr. (L ’73) in New Orleans

Elizabeth H. Emmett (L ’00), of counsel at Frilot in New Orleans

Jane A. Jackson (L ’10), associate at Kelly Hart & Pitre in New Orleans

Cliff A. Lacour (L ’06), partner at NeunerPate in Lafayette

Hugh R. Straub (L ’74), of counsel at Phelps Dunbar in New Orleans

Tulane graduates have a long and rich history of public service involvement. In 1988, the law school became the first in the United States to require pro bono work as part of the curriculum, and students annually donate tens of thousands of hours. The faculty recently approved increasing the minimum to 50 hours, which the majority of students already exceed.

The ABA in April recognized another alumnus for volunteer efforts: Tony Stiegler (L ’86), a partner in the San Diego office of Cooley, accepted the John Minor Wisdom Public Service and Professionalism Award from the ABA’s Litigation Section in recognition of his firm’s extensive pro bono work. 


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