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 info@azflse.org.

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

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 Awardee

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Nancy Tribbensee

Dedicating 20 years of pro bono service, Nancy has exemplified her dedication and drive in serving at-need Arizonans. The Volunteer Lawyers Program expressed their great appreciation for her commitment to excellence and immense compassion, which is clear in all her years of service. She has shown a specific interest in providing pro bono services to children, specifically those at are at-risk minors. Nancy has represented over 40 minor guardianship cases, and has also taken on cases involving grandparents as guardians, incarcerated parents, disability, abuse, and neglect. In addition, she has helped many individuals with refugee statuses who had complicated cases (e.g. needing legal documentation).

Nancy is constantly engaging with the Arizonan in attempt to make positive changes in our state. She has always demonstrated an interest in fostering and advising young lawyers, as she has mentored over 250 volunteer attorneys in child-specific legal matters. She also serves as Senior Vice President and General Counsel to the Arizona Board of Regents. The community is appreciative of her kindness and devotion to at-need Arizonans.

2017 Awardee

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Lee Bennett

Lee Bennett has volunteered for Community Legal Services Volunteer Lawyer Program for the last 6 years. In that time he has served at least 385 families, spent half a day each week at the VLP office interviewing and advising people, and provided additional assistance outside of the initial clinic to do further investigation to help advocate for the client.  He provided extensive representation to 5 clients with complex civil legal problems.  Lee provides efficient and effective interviews and case summaries enabling VLP to better determine if full representation is needed or to help aid another potential volunteer attorney in taking the case.

In one case, Mr. Bennett worked with a woman who was disable by a rare blood disease. Lee helped for 18 months and obtained an economic benefit of $202,553 for the client on a home ownership issue.

The justice community thanks Lee for the quantity and quality of his pro bono service and his outstanding commitment to helping clients.

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
Michael McGrath

1997
Christina Urias

1996
Philip (Jay) McCarthy, Jr.

1995
Michael J. Tucker

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

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

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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