Local Professionals Honored for Volunteer Service

September 30, 2012

Two local attorneys and a Washington DC 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, September 30, 2012 at a brunch following the annual Red Mass for justices, judges, diplomats, lawyers and government officials.

The honorees are volunteers with the Archdiocesan Legal Network, a program of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington. Each year, over 5,000 people in need receive $8 million in free legal services through the generosity of more than 800 volunteer attorneys and 57 law firms. The Legal Network offers assistance to individuals, all of whom are below the poverty line. The legal assistance is offered at several locations in the District of Columbia and suburban Maryland. In addition, the Network offers free legal education seminars to the community.

“Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI describes the presence of the Church as three-fold – proclaiming the Word of God, celebrating the sacraments, and exercising the ministry of charity,” said Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington. “The support, dedication and commitment of volunteers who give their precious time and talent to the Archdiocesan Legal Network are very visible signs of this ministry of service and the concern for the legal needs of the poorest in our midst.”

The Pro Bono Legal Service Awards are given each year by the John Carroll Society, a spiritual, intellectual, social and charitable organization for Washington-area Catholic professionals and business men and women in service to the Archbishop of Washington. This year’s honorees are:

• Attorneys at Furey Doolan & Abell, LLP have been active supporters of the Archdiocesan Legal Network for more than a decade. The firm has been a consistent supporter of the Legal Network and has devoted hundreds of pro bono hours to clients on cases involving wills and advanced medical directives, probate, and family law. Attorneys at the firm such as W. Shepherdson Abell, Esq., and James G. Nolan, Esq., have recruited other attorneys within their firm in addition to accepting pro bono cases themselves.

Joyce Trimble Gwadz, Esq. is an attorney with Dow Lohnes PLLC. Over the past six years, she has been a regular supporter of Legal Network, as well as an active volunteer with the Advisory Council. As part of her pro bono contribution to the Legal Network, she conducts client intake and has also recruited other attorneys within her firm to give their time and talent by accepting pro bono cases.

Judge John M. Facciola is a United States Magistrate Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. A long-time supporter of the Legal Network and former president of the John Carroll Society, Judge Facciola created the Brooks Internship in 2003 in honor of Rev. John Brooks, S.J., former president of the College of the Holy Cross who influenced many graduates of the school to become lawyers and judges. Brooks Interns spend the summer working for Judge Facciola and with the Legal Network, allowing students to appreciate the importance of pro bono legal service.

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