Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck recently received the Frank Crandall Community Service Award at the Santa Barbara Bar Association’s Annual dinner. Steven Amerikaner and Beth Collins-Burgard, shareholders in Brownstein’s Santa Barbara office, accepted the award on behalf of the firm. They were joined by their Santa Barbara colleagues including Barry Langberg, Steve Jung, Jena Shoaf and Ryan Drake.
“Our law firm helped found Legal Aid in Santa Barbara in the 1960s,” said Amerikaner. “It has a long history of leadership in community organizations, and helping people who cannot afford legal help. It’s embedded in our culture, and I am proud to be associated with a group of lawyers who live according to those values.”
Collins-Burgard noted in an acceptance speech that there is a business case for doing pro bono work, which can be a great tool for attorney training, recruitment and retention while at the same time building the reputations of individual attorneys and a firm.
“My first court hearing was on a pro bono adoption as a summer associate and my first appellate argument was on a habeas petition, which was granted, for a battered woman who killed her husband in self-defense,” explained Collins-Burgard. “My pro bono work has helped me develop as a lawyer and given me opportunities to meet and work alongside people who have forever changed my practice and my life. For that, I’m grateful.”
Brownstein has a longstanding commitment to pro bono work in the communities in which its employees live and work. In Santa Barbara, the firm’s attorneys are committed to helping advance the lives of low-income individuals through its work with the Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County, as well as the Alliance for Children’s Rights.
“From associates to shareholders, our attorneys are committed to working on pro bono projects that benefit people and organizations without access to legal representation,” added Amerikaner. “We strongly encourage all of our shareholders and associates to meet the American Bar Association’s aspirational goal of 50 pro bono hours per year.”
The firm’s Santa Barbara attorneys serve in leadership positions for more than 30 nonprofit organizations. In addition, several of Brownstein’s local attorneys also provide pro bono advice and services to local nonprofits, including:
- Direct Relief International
- Children’s Museum of Santa Barbara
- Islamic Society of Santa Barbara
Since January 2012, the firm’s Santa Barbara attorneys and staff have provided more than 1,500 hours of pro bono service for 23 local clients. With 20 out of 24 attorneys in the Santa Barbara office participating in pro bono work, that amounts to more than 75 hours of donated time per participating attorney.
About Frank Crandall Award
The Frank Crandall Award is given to law firms facilitating pro bono services to community nonprofit organizations, based on services benefiting low-income persons, community project leadership, nature and quality of work and hours per attorneys, percent of firm attorneys involved in pro bono work, and existence of a policy encouraging pro bono activity.