July 31, 2008
Elam Pro Bono Award Presented to Kutik
The first annual John and Ginny Elam Pro Bono Award was presented to David Kutik at the Ohio State Bar Association’s annual meeting by Chief Justice Thomas Moyer in recognition of his outstanding commitment to pro bono legal services. This award includes a $5,000 gift in Mr. Kutik’s honor to the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland from the Elam Family Fund of the Columbus Bar Foundation. Each year the new honoree will be able to designate an Ohio legal services provider to receive this cash award.
John C. Elam was a past president of the Columbus Bar and a board member of Legal Aid Society of Columbus when he passed away in 2002. He chaired Legal Aid s largest fund raising campaign to date, raising $1 million. Mr. Elam had an abiding interest in encouraging pro bono activities by lawyers and law firms and also donated his own time and talent to ensuring that the system of justice was available to all. Ginny, John’s wife, created this Fund to honor his lifelong commitment.
Mr. Kutik, the first award recipient, participates as a volunteer attorney on a regular basis in Legal Aid’s Brief Advice and Referral Clinics, and current chairs Legal Aid’s Pro Bono Committee. He is a tireless advocate in encouraging other lawyer to make an annual hourly goal of pro bono service and to take it as seriously as an economic goal. For Mr. Kutik pro bono legal service to the poor is integral to being a lawyer and is over and beyond whatever a lawyer does to generally serve the community. As President of the Cleveland Bar Association he personally went to nineteen of the largest firms in northeast Ohio and one large publicly traded corporation and they pledged an unprecedented 61,000 hours of volunteer community service.
For information concerning pro bono service, contact Marion Smithberger, Executive Director, Columbus Bar Foundation, 614/340.2070.
Photo: (L-R) Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Moyer, Ginny Elam, and David Kutik (photo courtesy of the OSBA)