William Morris Award

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William E. Morris

Pro Bono Service Award

Awarded to recognize extraordinary contributions by an Arizona Attorney in making legal services available to persons who otherwise could not afford them, and thereby to focus public awareness on the substantial voluntary services by Arizona attorneys in this area. Renamed in 2000 to honor the memory of William E. Morris, a long-time attorney for the poor in Arizona.

Nominations are due March 1st and are to include the individual's name; firm if applicable; address & other contact information; the award for which they are being nominated and contact information of the nominators; a summary of their characteristics, experiences, and service that qualifies them for the award; and support letters from others may be included. The nomination packets should be sent to The Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education, ATTN: Kevin S. Ruegg, 4201 N. 24th Street, Suite 210, Phoenix, AZ 85016 or email to [email protected].

Awards Acknowledged in conjunction with the Foundation participation in the annual Arizona State Bar Convention.

2021 Awardee

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Nancy Anger

Nancy Anger began actively volunteering with Community Legal Services Volunteer Lawyer Program after her retirement in 2017, volunteering almost every week.  She was quickly respected by staff and other volunteers for her legal expertise in consumer matters, her interviewing skills and for being an effective negotiator.   Ms. Anger is sought out by staff when a client interview is needed with complex facts, as she is able to quickly gain a rapport and trust, listens attentively and gains all the necessary facts needed for the case.

 VLP staff describe Nancy as “always going the extra mile” as she often does far more than the brief help that is expected.  She makes immediate calls to help solve problems for clients. She often agrees to investigate or advocate – sometimes helping for months. She will often follow up with clients she has advised to see how they are progressing or if they need additional help.  

In 2019, Nancy assisted 88 families with legal needs and in 2020 she helped 99 clients donating over 150 hours of her time and expertise.  Roni Tropper, VLP staff, stated, “Nancy always does everything she can to help a person.  Even if the client might not have a strong legal claim, Nancy usually can find a way to advocate to help make the person’s life better.  She is beyond compassionate and just an all-around lovely human.”

2020 Awardee

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Karen Nygaard

Karen Nygaard has been volunteering to assist low income individuals with civil legal issues for decades.  She spent years with Southern Arizona Legal Aid’s Volunteer Lawyer Program as a highly effective volunteer advocate and demonstrated a genuine interest in helping those most in need.

When she was appointed to the Pima County Superior Court bench, she continued to assist the SALA’s VLP by joining the advisory board, leading continuing legal education seminars and helping recognize other outstanding volunteers. 

She most recently became a founding member of Step Up to Justice where she serves on the board and finance/compliance work group.

Ms. Nygaard has also volunteered for many years with Child & Family Resources including being Chair of their board. She worked with the Family Law Court in Pima County to start clinics at the courthouse and assisted in revising forms to make them more comprehensible to the general public.

Karen has made volunteering and supporting access to justice a central part of her 40 year career and continues to make her expertise available to those in need.

2019 Awardee

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Sesaly Stamps

Ms. Stamps has provided pro bono legal services for Pima County’s indigent clients since 2011.  She regularly volunteers for bankruptcy/consumer debt advice clinics and employment and employment advice clinics. In 2018, she gave fifteen pro bono hours in clinics. Over the years, she has taken fifteen direct referral pro bono cases.

Recently, she donated 52 hours to a pro bono wage claim case where the client obtained default judgement of damages, fees, and costs totaling about $30,000.  In another 2018 case, a single mother with two small children, one of who has serious health concerns was referred by Southern Arizona Legal Aid.  This client sought further assistance after an advice-only clinic for getting unpaid wages from a former employer.  Ms. Stamps sent a letter demanding payment of the wages and damages in the total amount of $600. After multiple emails with the employer’s management representatives, they finally sent a check for the full amount. $600 may not seem like much money for some, but obtaining this settlement was a significant benefit to this client.  This empathy with our community members and their needs is why Ms. Stamps is such a valuable volunteer attorney.

2018
Nancy Tribbensee

2017
Lee Bennett

2016
Denice Shepherd

2015
Skip Skinner

2014
Katherine McLeod

2013

Stanley Friedman

2012

Rob Ferrier

2011

Ben Smith

2010

David Sanderson

2009

Dean Christoffel

2008

Debra Hill

2007

Cary Inabinet

2006
Tom Roberts

2005
Scott Gan

2004
David Engelman

2003
Pamela Liberty

2002
Alyce Pennington

2001
Luis Ochoa

2000
Steven Cox

1999
Wayne Yehling

1998
Stephen Anderson
& Roy Petty
& Michael McGrath

1997
Christina Urias

1996
Philip (Jay) McCarthy, Jr.

1995
Michael J. Tucker

1994
Dianne C. Kerns (Sole Practitioner)
Robert E. Miles

1993
Hon. Robert W. Pickrell (Sole Practitioner)
Thomas M. Ryan

1992
Rev. David A. Meyers

1991
Lawrence A. Hammond

1990
Nancy M. Coomer

1989
John A. Greene

1988
William T. Birmingham

1987
Ted F. Warner

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