October 31, 2008
Pro Bono Awards Presented Today
The following Columbus Bar Foundation and Bar Association Pro Bono Awards are to be presented today:
Brian Basil, for Outstanding Pro Bono Service by an Individual
Brian Basil is a partner at Murray Murphy & Basil, a firm specializing in complex litigation and corporate practice and is a model for how to be a successful lawyer and integrate pro bono into one’s practice. Since entering practice in 1995 For more than 5 years, Brian provided pro bono representation and counsel to the Homeless Families Foundation. Brian utilized his significant expertise in business to counsel the Foundation in a wide variety of areas including drafting corporate documents, reviewing contracts and preparing internal policies and manuals.
For more than a year, Brian has provided pro bono representation to the Church for All People, a non-profit organization serving the near east side, Parsons Avenue in Columbus. Through his efforts, Brian has been providing his expertise in business and real estate transactions to bring about co-operative ownership housing to the neighborhood. Brian drafted by-laws and other documents required to finalize the transaction and has provided substantial guidance to both the staff and the board of Church for All People on a number of business and tax related issues
Nationwide Insurance Company, for Outstanding Pro Bono Service by a Corporation
Last summer, thirty-one volunteers partnered with the Legal Aid Society of Columbus and Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, LLP and held the first Clinic in a Box in central Ohio. The clinic in a box pro bono program focuses on providing a “legal health check-up” for non-profit organizations that serve low-income population throughout Central Ohio. Representatives from non-profit organizations had the opportunity to talk to the pro bono attorneys about ways that organizational issues might be resolved before they develop into situations requiring further legal attention.
As part of National Adoption Month, members of Nationwide’s legal department partnered with Franklin County Probate Court, the National Center for Adoption Law and Policy at Capital University Law School and Franklin County Children Services to finalize adoptions for approximately 20 children in foster care in Franklin County.
Following CLE training, Franklin County Children Services assigned each Nationwide attorney a foster family. The pro bono attorneys and support staff from Nationwide’s legal department met with the foster parents and children, conducted extensive interviews and preparted all pleadings required for the adoption. Nationwide’s pro bono attorneys appeared with the foster families before Franklin County Probate Court to finalize the adoptions. Other members of Nationwide’s legal department also participated by serving as guides for the families and volunteering their time with the other events and celebrations on “Adoption Day 2007.”
Save the Dream: Ohio’s Foreclosure Prevention Program, for Outstanding Pro Bono Project
Since April, more than 300 attorneys in Columbus have volunteered as part of the statewide Save the Dream Foreclosure pro bono assistance initiative. The Save the Dream pro bono initiative is one of the first of its kind in the country and is part of a multi-agency effort focused on providing assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure.
On April 1, 2008 the project was enacted statewide in an effort to assist qualified Ohioans in the foreclosure crisis. In order to qualify for this program a client had to be income eligible, live in the home and had the means to continue to make mortgage payments once a work out was made between the client and the mortgage company.
In Franklin County there are 300 volunteer attorneys and 1,300 statewide. In the first quarter April – June 2008 statewide there have been 366 referrals made to Legal Aids offices around the state; 279 open cases; and 66 cases either settled or mediated. This has been the state’s effort to assist those who cannot afford to hire an attorney and keep those people in their homes.