Local Legal Professionals Honored for Volunteer Service
Sunday, October 2, 2016
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Three local attorneys and one Washington D.C., law firm received this year’s Pro Bono Legal Service Awards for outstanding volunteer legal service to low-income individuals from the Washington region. The awards were given on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016, at a brunch following the annual Red Mass for justices, judges, diplomats, lawyers and government officials.
The awards are given each year by the John Carroll Society, a Washington area organization that provides spiritual, intellectual, charitable and social opportunities for Catholic professionals and business men and women in service to the Archbishop of Washington.
The honorees are volunteers with the Catholic Charities Legal Network. The Legal Network offers free legal assistance to over 4,100 individuals each year, all of whom are below the poverty line. Legal assistance is offered at several locations in the District of Columbia and suburban Maryland through the generosity of volunteer attorneys. In addition, the network offers free legal education seminars to the community. Between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016, nearly 7,000 pro bono hours were donated by the Legal Network’s corps of over 723 attorney volunteers representing over 65 large and small law firms as well as sole practices. These hours were self-reported as of July 2016, and the Legal Network expects additional hours to be reported in the coming weeks and months. The estimated value of these hours is over $2.7 million.
This year’s Pro Bono Legal Service Awards honorees are:
- Professor Paul Kurth is the Director of the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic and the Managing Director of Columbus Community Legal Services at the Columbus School of Law, The Catholic University of America. At Columbus Community Legal Services, Professor Kurth supervises students representing clients in tax controversies with the IRS and local jurisdictions, as well as cases in bankruptcy and family law. Professor Kurth also works with students conducting community outreach seminars. He supervises students as they prepare and deliver community education seminars on behalf of the Catholic Charities Legal Network for Catholic Charities transitional housing participants. Professor Kurth’s students have conducted seminars for community groups on such topics as taxpayer rights and responsibilities and on the federal personal income tax system and seminar participants not only gain valuable knowledge, but are also connected with additional legal services through Catholic Charities Legal Network and the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic. Most recently, Professor Kurth has been involved with others in creating the Tax and Accounting Network, a new program at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington.
- Robert B. Fitzpatrick is the principal of the law firm of Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC in Washington, D.C. For over 40 years, he has practiced employment and employee benefits law, and has been described as among the top employment lawyers in the Washington, D.C. area, and nationwide. In the past year, he has handled six complex employment cases on a pro bono basis for clients of the Catholic Charities Legal Network in Washington, D.C. and Maryland, devoting more than 350 pro bono hours to these cases in the last year alone.
- Relinda Louisy is the principal of the Law Firm of Relinda Louisy in Washington, D.C. Ms. Louisy has been practicing law for over 20 years. Ms. Louisy has provided legal assistance to Catholic Charities Legal Network clients on pro bono matters for several years. In the past year alone, she devoted more than 400 pro bono hours to a Legal Network client in a complex child custody matter. In addition to her pro bono service each year, Ms. Louisy also provides legal services to low-income clients at a reduced “low bono” rate where the clients do not qualify for Legal Network services, but are unable to afford full-price representation. She has handled such cases for the Legal Network in the following areas: custody/child support and guardianship matters.
- Hogan Lovells US LLP is a top 10 global legal services provider with over 2,500 attorneys practicing in legal offices on six continents. The firm is co-headquartered in Washington, D.C. and London, with approximately 500 lawyers in its Washington, D.C. office. The firm has a longstanding relationship with the Catholic Charities Legal Network from the time that John C. Keeney, Jr., a former partner of the firm, attended the dinner meeting with law firm representatives at which Cardinal James Hickey, then-Archbishop of Washington announced the formation of the Legal Network. Partners and former partners of the firm have served on the Legal Network’s Advisory Council over the years. In addition to Hogan Lovells’ leadership role in the Legal Network’s Advisory Council, a rotating group of approximately ten Hogan Lovells attorneys have conducted client intake for the Legal Network on a weekly basis since 2012.
The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 95 Catholic schools, located in Washington, D.C., and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.