Statewide Awards


William E. Morris Pro Bono Service Award

Every year, the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education honors volunteer lawyers for their dedication to helping those in need across Arizona.  The highest individual honor is called the William E. Morris Pro Bono Service Award.  This award is presented annually at the State Bar Convention to recognize the extraordinary contributions of one Arizona attorney in making legal services available to clients who otherwise could not afford them.  Recipients of this award from the VLP are as follows:

Denice Shepherd  >  2016
Skip Skinner  >  2015
Rob Ferrier  >  2012
Ben Smith  >  2011
Dean Christoffel  >  2009
Cary Inabinet  >  2008
Tom Roberts  >  2006
Scott Gan  >  2005
Pam Liberty  >  2003   
Alyce Pennington  >  2002
Luis Ochoa  >  2001
Steve Cox  >  2000
Wayne Yehling  >  1999
Michael McGrath  >  1998

Read more about William E. Morris award winners   


Arizona Supreme Court Award

 

Gloria Goldman and Chief Justice Bales

Gloria Goldman - 2016

Congratulations to Gloria Goldman who was selected by the Arizona Supreme Court to receive the 2016 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award.  Gloria came to the United States in 1949 with her parents who were refugees from Europe and survivors of the Holocaust.  She has been in private practice since 1991, the same year that she joined Southern Arizona Legal Aid's Volunteer Lawyers Program.

Through her pro bono service, Gloria has dedicated more than 700 hours to the VLP, assisting 76 clients and their children.  Many of those assisted by Gloria were fleeing domestic violence, threats of harm, abuse, and other crimes in their country of origin.  She is only one of a few immigration lawyers who will accept these complex and often emotionally intense cases on a pro bono basis.  The VLP staff are grateful to Gloria for her willingness to become involved and help those most in need in her community.

Ben Smith - 2014

Congratulations to Ben Smith, who received the Arizona Supreme Court Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service. Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch presented Ben with his award at the Judicial Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, June 25, 2014. Ben began working with the Volunteer Lawyers Program of Southern Arizona Legal Aid in 2007. During his time with the program, he has assisted 5,700 clients with domestic relations and domestic violence issues. Ben leads weekly paternity and divorce clinics and frequently participates in the Self-Service Center Project, in collaboration with the Pima County Superior Court.The VLP is honored to work with Ben. The staff is inspired by his extraordinary dedication to his profession and his commitment to his community. Ben has been a gift to our program and our clients.

Skip Skinner - 2013

Congratulations to Skip Skinner who received the Arizona Supreme Court Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service.  Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch presented Skip with his award at the Judicial Conference on June 26, 2013.  Skip began working with Southern Arizona Legal Aid's Volunteer Lawyers Program in 2005. Through the VLP Skip leads Minor Guardianship Clinics designed to assist pro se clients seeking Title XlV minor guardianships in Pima County Probate Court.  Skip also conducts twice-monthly Advice Only clinics for low-income clients seeking assistance with consumer debt issues.

Skip is well prepared, thoughtful and dedicated to his clients.  His generosity and commitment to helping those most in need serves as an inspiration to all who know him.  Skip is an asset to the VLP, the legal community, and the clients he serves.  In his eight years with the VLP, Skip's willingness to share his expertise has enabled him to serve 3,864 clients and their families.

Scott H. Gan - 2012

Scott H. Gan received the Arizona Supreme Court Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service.  Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch presented Scott with his award at the Judicial Conference on June 13, 2012.  Scott has been a member of the SALA VLP since 1986.  The legal assistance that Scott provides to the VLP and its clients takes many forms.  He provides direct representation to VLP clients in some of the most complex and challenging bankruptcy cases seen by the program.  In most cases, Scott's interventions have saved clients from homelessness, and perhaps even more significant in the long run, have allowed clients to attain a level of self-sufficiency that they could not have imagined prior to Scott's involvement in their cases.  

Denice Shepherd - 2011

Denice R. Shepherd received the Arizona Supreme Court Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service. Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch presented Denice with her award at the Judicial Awards Luncheon on June 22, 2011.  Denice was the first attorney to volunteer when the VLP formed a partnership with the community Foundation for Southern Arizona. The partnership established legal clinics for HIV/Aids patients.  Denice led the clinics providing valuable information and advice to clients who were ill and eager to put their affairs in order.

Denice's generosity and commitment to helping those most in need serves as an example to all who know her.  She represents the best of what a lawyer should be.  Denice is intelligent, knowledgeable, and high skilled. She is compassionate, patient, and kind.

Dean Christoffel - 2008

Congratulations to Dean Christoffel, who received the Arizona Supreme Court Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service, an award that is presented to one Arizona attorney each year.  Justice Rebecca White Berch presented Dean with his award at the Judicial Awards Luncheon at Loews Ventana Canyon on June 16, 2008.  


Champion for Children & Families Award

Randi Burnett - 2015

Child & Family Resources (CFR) honored volunteer attorney Randi Burnett as the recipient of the 2015 Champion for Children & Families Award.  Randi received her award on April 21, 2015 at the Doubletree Hotel.  CFR honored Randi for her work with the VLP.  Through the VLP Randi volunteers to assist clients with their family law matters.  She participates in all of the programs self-help clinics, leading clients through the required forms to file their cases.  She also provides direct representation to clients in some of the most complex cases seen by the program.  Since becoming a volunteer lawyer in 2012, Randi has helped 187 family and their children.

Randi is selfless and always places the needs of others ahead of her own.  She is honest and direct.  She is talented, dedicated, and most important, kind.  She is aware of her unique education and skill set, and she has chosen to use both to assist those most in need in our community.  The VLP is fortunate to know her, work with her and call her a friend.  Congratulations, Randi!

Skip Skinner - 2014

Child & Family Resources (CFR) honored Skip Skinner as the recipient of the 2014 Champion for Children & Families Award. Skip received his award on April 27, 2014 at the University Park Marriott. CFR honored Skip for his work with the VLP. Skip joined the VLP in 2005, where he assists families and children seeking to obtain a minor guardianship. Skip provides families and prospective guardians with the legal assistance necessary to request a guardianship in Probate Court. By helping families obtain minor guardianships, Skip is able to secure safe housing for children. His efforts also provide care givers with the ability to enroll children in school and obtain necessary medical care.

In 2013, Skip led 60 VLP clinics and donated over 200 hours of his time. Skips generosity and commitment to helping those most in need serves as an inspiration to all who know him.


Governor Janet Napolitano Honors Volunteer Lawyer Alyce Pennington

VLP Advisory Board member, Alyce Pennington, received one of 16 Volunteer Service Awards in 2005 from the Governor's Commission on Service and Volunteerism. 

Read more about this award   


Top Pro Bono Attorneys

In addition to the William E. Morris Award, the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education has recognized the Top Pro Bono Attorneys in Arizona since 2001.  Recipients are honored at the State Bar Convention.  

 

2015

Emery La Barge
Patrick Lacroix
Brian Longenbaugh
Juan Perez-Medrano
James Sakrison
Gary Urman
David West

Peter Akmajian
Randi Burnett
Stacy Rupprecht Butler
Christopher Cain
Hon. Fred Dardis
Nathan Hannah
Christopher Hitchock


2014

Stacy R. Butler
Randi Burnett
Hon. Hector Campoy
Joseph D. Chimienti
Cheryl Copperstone
Greg Droeger
Scott Gan
Gloria Goldman
Kristen Klotz
Dean Mieczkowski
Tom Niemeir

Kasey Nye
William Poorten
Steve Portell
Kevin Rudh
Scott Simonson
Skip Skinner
Ben Smith
Lisa Anne Smith
Sesaly Stamps
Carl Tootle
Rudy Valenzuela


2013

Ryan Anderson
Lisa Bibbens
Steven Cox
Sarah Crotty
Joubert Davenport
Greg Droeger
Erin Fox
Scott Gan
Biagio Gingo
Charlotte Hamilton

Bob Johnstone
Ronda Lustman
Nathan Parkey
Juan Perez-Medrano
Lisa Schriner Lewis
Denice Shepherd
Ernest "Skip" Skinner
Ben Smith
David West

 


2012

Deborah Chisholm Scott
Deanna Conn
Cheryl Copperstone
Bryan Daum
Greg Droeger
Elliot Glicksman
Gloria Goldman
Todd Jackson
Kate McMillan

Isaac Rothschild
Mary Judge Ryan
James Sakrison
Ben Smith
Carl Tootle
Merle Turchik
Rudy Valenzuela
James Whitehill


2011

Robert Barrasso
Lisa Bibbens
Dean Christoffel
Joubert Davenport
Greg Droeger
Chris Enos
Scott Gan
Scott Gibson
Shannon Giles 

Christopher Hitchock
Todd Jackson
Hon. John F. Kelliher  
Lisa Schriner Lewis
Thomas Niemeir
Nathan Parkey
Steve Portell
Jan Smith-Florez
Sandra Tedlock


2010

Annie Barrett
John Barrett
Dean Christoffel
Darren Clausen
Michael Coker
Cheryl Copperstone
Robert Ferrier

Erin Fox
Biagio Gingo
Christopher Hitchock
John Kelliher, Jr.
Denice Shepherd
Jeremy Sohn


2009

Dina Afek
Sarah Crotty
Jan Florez-Smith
Heather Gaines
Maurice H. Goldman
Nathan Hannah
Mike Hornisher
Jon Iurino
Kristen Klotz
Ann Lyons-Cabrera

Jim Marvel
Tim Medcoff
Joseph Mendoza
Dan Montgomery
Angela Moore
Benjamin Smith
Lisa Anne Smith
Eric Sparks
Susan Villarreal
Sarah Wright


2008

Larry Adamson
Juan Flores
Jeannie Geiser
Charles George
Anne Graham-Bergin
Steve Itkin
Barry Kirschner
Albert Lassen
Patrick Ledger

Kate McMillan
Jim Sakrison
Skip Skinner
Tom Slutes
Spencer Smith
Alan Solot
Ron Sommer
Merle Turchik
David West


2007

Ron Allen
Donald Awerkamp
Thomas Bayham
F. Morgan Brown
Brian Daum
Rob Ferrier
Les Gilbertson
Johnny Helenbolt
Tom Hippert

Kurt Kroese
Lisa Schriner Lewis
Ed Matchett
Jim Penny
Denneen Peterson
Bill Poorten
Steve Portell
Heather Strickland


2006

Peter Akmajian
Elizabeth Berenguer
Lindsay Brew
Benjamin Burnside
Stacy Rupprecht Butler
Emily Dillof
Karl Elledge
Shannon Giles
Kristen Green
Patricia Green

Todd Jackson
Lowell Jensen
Peter Kelly
Cindy Kuhn
Carl Piccarreta
Anita Wightman Pitroff
Dan Rylander
Larry Scheafer
Tim Struse
Gary Urman


2005

Nina Caples
Deanna Conn
James Egbert
Charles Giddings

John Kaufmann
Karl MacOmber
Pat Moreno
Roxanne Veliz


2004

Brian Bjorndahl
Shannon Bradley
Tom Curti
Les Gilbertson
James Gjurgevich 
Elliot Glicksman
Charlotte Hamilton

Elaine Hardin
Cary Inabinet
John Kelliher
Kasey Nye
Armando Rivera
Sally Simmons
Fred Petersen


2003

John Balentine
Dean Christoffel
Dennis Clancy
Benjamin S. Cole
Joubert Davenport
Fred Farsjo
Craig Gordon
Cole Hernandez
Thabet Kahlidi
Sidney Kain
Pam Liberty

Irval Mortensen
Tom Neimeir
Barry Nelson
Nathan Parkey
John Richardson
Denice Shepherd
Carl Tootle
Patrick Traynor
Jeanee Benda Whitney
Jacqueline Wohl


2002

Gus Aragon
Bill Bacon
Sharan Bennett
Rob Charles
Cheryl Copperstone
Greg Droeger
Chris Enos
Bob Fleming
Scott Gan
Scott Gibson

Gloria Goldman
Jim Jutry
Juan Perez-Medrano
Nancy O’Neill
Dean Sipe
Russ Stowers
Ruben Teran
Steve Weinstein
Cathy Woods


2001

Lisa Bibbens
Steve Cox
Peter Economidis
Christopher Hitchcock
Oscar Lizardi
Nancy March
Michael McGrath
Kay Nelson

Luis Ochoa
Alyce Pennington
Joe Riley
Tom Roberts
Stellisa Scott
Rudy Valenzuela
Wayne Yehling