At the 22nd Annual Servant of Justice Awards Dinner last Thursday night, we had the privilege of honoring four outstanding individuals and celebrating the commitment and dedication of D.C.’s legal community to Legal Aid’s mission of making justice real for our clients.
The Servant of Justice Awards are presented annually to individuals who have demonstrated faithful dedication and remarkable achievement in ensuring that all persons have equal and meaningful access to justice. This year’s honorees, Brooksley E. Born of Arnold & Porter LLP and The Honorable Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice, truly exemplify this ideal. Ms. Born and Mr. Perez shared inspiring remarks on the work in which they have each engaged throughout their lives to achieve equal justice and civil rights on behalf of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged citizens of our country. Ms. Born was introduced by her long-time friend Marcia Greenberger, founder of the National Women’s Law Center, and Tom Perez by his colleague (and former Legal Aid Executive Director) Jonathan Smith.
The evening began with the presentations of the Partnership Award, presented to a non-legal organization whose work directly advances Legal Aid’s ability to serve its clients, and the Klepper Prize for Volunteer Excellence, which recognizes an attorney who has made a significant volunteer contribution to Legal Aid. When accepting the Partnership Award on behalf of his organization, DC Fiscal Policy Institute’s Ed Lazere emphasized the continuing challenges of D.C.’s low income community as the city once again strives to balance its budget by cutting services to those who need them most. And Klepper Prize recipient Aryeh Portnoy of Crowell and Moring energized the crowd with a passionate speech about his commitment to family law pro bono work.
As readers of this blog know, we at Legal Aid simply could not do the work that we do without the generous support and commitment of so many across the District—our many and generous organizational and individual donors, our amazing cadre of volunteer lawyers, our Board of Trustees, our many partner organizations, our outstanding staff, and, of course, our clients. The Dinner provides us with a wonderful opportunity to thank those across the Legal Aid community who help us in our work to make justice real. Thanks to all who joined with us to celebrate this year. It was a wonderful, memorable event. We hope you will plan to join us for next year’s Dinner on April 26, 2012 when will be celebrating our 80th Anniversary.