Bodman PLC receives National Super Lawyers Pro Bono Award

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The internationally recognized peer-review publication Super Lawyers has selected Detroit-based law firm Bodman PLC as one of only two national law firm recipients of its 2013 Pro Bono Award. 

The Pro Bono Award honors law firms and other organizations and individuals that exemplify excellence in providing volunteer legal services to the poor, underrepresented, or exploited. Award recipients are selected based on pro bono efforts accomplished in the previous calendar year.

 “With our largest office in downtown Detroit, Bodman attorneys are acutely aware of the level of need experienced by the homeless and the organizations that serve the homeless,” said Bodman Chairman Ralph E. McDowell. “The Super Lawyers award is tremendous recognition for all of the Bodman attorneys whose volunteer services make a positive impact in the lives of the most vulnerable people in the communities where we live and work.”  

In announcing the award, the editors of Super Lawyers recognized Bodman for its involvement in the Street Outreach Court Detroit (SOCD), a specialty “homeless court” of the 36th Judicial District, which helps provide a fresh start for Detroiters who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. SOCD participants follow an action plan to address the causes of their homelessness, which may include job training, obtaining stable housing, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation. Upon completion, participants are granted relief from most of their outstanding civil infractions and misdemeanors. Bodman is a member of the SOCD steering committee and represents SOCD participants in connection with civil matters.

Super Lawyers also acknowledged the volunteer efforts of Bodman attorneys at both the Detroit chapter of H.E.L.P. (Homeless Experience Legal Protection), a program that holds legal clinics for the homeless at a warming center, and a new legal clinic held at Detroit’s Capuchin Soup Kitchen, which Bodman helped to establish. Bodman attorneys work with soup kitchens, community crisis centers, and other social service providers to identify and provide services to homeless or nearly homeless individuals who can benefit from assistance with legal issues.

In 2013, 106 Bodman attorneys performed more than 5,300 hours of pro bono service for eligible organizations and individuals. The firm’s efforts are guided by a standing Pro Bono Committee and Bodman is one of only two law firms in Michigan to employ a dedicated pro bono counsel. Kimberly Paulson, who joined Bodman as pro bono counsel in 2012, serves as the primary coordinator of the firm’s day to day pro bono activities and also provides legal services directly to a number of the firm’s pro bono clients.

The Super Lawyers award is one of several that Bodman has garnered in recent years in recognition of its extensive pro bono program. In December 2013, Michigan Community Resources, an organization that provides assistance to community-based organizations serving low income areas, named Bodman its Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year. Bodman is also a current member of the State Bar of Michigan’s Pro Bono Circle of Excellence for having exceeded the State Bar’s voluntary pro bono standard. 

Bodman is one of Michigan’s largest business law firms with more than 150 lawyers in four Michigan offices in Detroit, Troy, Ann Arbor, and Cheboygan, and an affiliate office in Dallas, Texas. Bodman has a diverse client base that includes individuals and businesses in a variety of industries with emphasis on financial services, automotive, real estate and construction, high tech, health care, manufacturing, and other sectors.

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