SALA’s 2021 VLP Appreciation Celebration

By: Hannah K. Royball, Legal Intern, Volunteer Lawyers Program

The VLP’s Annual Appreciation Celebration honors the numerous volunteers who graciously provide quality legal services to people who would not otherwise have equal access to justice. This year in particular, Southern Arizona Legal Aid had much to celebrate at its Oct. 28th event. SALA’s Executive Director, Anthony Young, opened the event with some inspiring words and was followed by Elliot Glicksman, a Tucson Lawyer and Comedian. Guests were emboldened by Snell & Wilmer partner, ABA 2020 President, and keynote speaker, Patricia Lee Refo, who delivered a beautiful message emphasizing the importance of service and giving back to the community. Director of the Volunteer Lawyers Program, Susan Daicoff, spoke to clients’ courage when seeking services from SALA and highlighted the numerous Volunteers of the Month award recipients that kindly donated their time to aid clients with a myriad of legal issues.

Many awards were presented to celebrate the hard work and commitment of the most resolute volunteers. Frederick J. Petersen was awarded the Lowell E. Rothschild Volunteer of the Year Award for his exceptional effort and commitment to pro bono work, providing over 140 hours of his time to successfully conclude a direct representation case of 5 years. DeConcini McDonald Yetwin & Lacy, P.C. was awarded the Firm of the Year in recognition of the scope of pro bono services provided. Over 78% of the firm’s attorneys serve on VLP’s pro bono panel and over 30% of the firm’s attorneys donated pro bono hours this year.

From the shutdown until now, over 60 VLP volunteer attorneys have made a conscious effort to continue donating their time and efforts to many of the most effected individuals. Together, these frontline heroes advised clients in 571 clinics and gave a total of 1,468 hours or $440,400 of expert legal advice. In acknowledgement of this year’s unique challenges, SALA honored these dedicated volunteers with Frontline Hero Awards.

In addition to the overwhelming support of volunteers, SALA was proud to double the size of the student intern program, hosting over 40 student interns. Staff attorney, Tish Liggett, continues to work diligently to supervise and enrich internship opportunities. Law Student Awards were given to Paige Ricks and Kat Baiardi for their work with the Domestic Relations and Immigration Unit. Additionally, Law Student Awards were given to Doug Wykstra and Scott Kirker for their work with Pinal County and Native American Units.  VLP Interns, Jennifer Lane and Julie Madrid, were also recognized for their efforts in organizing the annual event this year.

The celebration emphasized SALA’s unending gratitude to all the volunteers that have contributed to the mission to provide and promote equal access to justice. A special thank you to the presenting sponsor, Snell & Wilmer, as well as contributing sponsors; Mesch Clark Rothschild, Carl A. Piccarreta, DeConcini McDonald Yetwin & Lacy, Goldberg & Osborne, and the Law Offices of Keith A. Singer.

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