Pro Bono Awards and Accolades
Baker Botts Receives 2017 Harris County Bench Bar Pro Bono Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service
The firm received the Harris County Bench Bar Pro Bono Award in the large firm category for the firm's outstanding contributions to pro bono legal services during 2017. This is the second consecutive year the firm has received this accolade.
This award recognizes the 1,131 hours Baker Botts lawyers dedicated to pro bono Hurricane Harvey relief. Ffforts included coordinating with Lone Star Legal Aid and Houston Volunteer Lawyers to put firm lawyers, and volunteers from other law firms, in shelters immediately after the storm. The firm also arranged loaner computers for Lone Star and other organizations, hosted a training program for volunteer attorneys with more than 700 in attendance or participating over webinar, and hosted its own Hurricane Harvey LegalLine program days after the storm with 70 Baker Botts lawyers and 20 attorneys from clients' offices answering 175 citizen calls.
Including its pro bono work related to Hurricane Harvey, Baker Botts lawyers recorded 11,303 pro bono hours in 2017, representing 3.6% of the firm's billable hours. Baker Botts partners with 15 pro bono organizations, and 172 of our 201 Houston lawyers did pro bono work in 2017.
The winners were selected by a committee comprised of Harris County judges from the Criminal District Courts, Civil District Courts, Family District Courts, Probate Courts, Juvenile Courts and the Courts of Appeals, as well as the President of the Houston Bar Association.
Baker Botts Awarded the 2016 W. Frank Newton Award
Baker Botts was selected by the State Bar of Texas as the sole recipient of the prestigious 2016 W. Frank Newton Award.
The W. Frank Newton Award recognizes the pro bono contribution of the lawyers in Baker Botts’ Texas offices for their outstanding contribution to the provision of legal services to the underprivileged.
As the oldest law firm in Texas and a founder of the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program, pro bono legal services and constructive contribution to the firm's local communities are a top priority for Baker Botts.
Baker Botts lawyers in Texas provide an approximate 17,000 hours per year of free legal services to the indigent and non-profit organizations. Each office has a strong and active pro bono program and every lawyer from the most junior associate to the most senior partner is expected to contribute.
The firm has strong partnerships with Houston Volunteer Lawyers (the largest provider of free legal services to the indigent in Texas), the South Dallas Legal Clinic, Human Rights First, Catholic Charities, KIND, Tahirih, Texas C-Bar, Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas and many others.
Baker Botts Wins Large Law Firm Award: Houston Bar Association / Houston Volunteer Lawyers Champions Program
Baker Botts has received this award in every bar year since the start of the program. For the 2014-2015 bar year, the firm handled 47 cases for HVL under its “Access to Justice Program.” This is the second most number of cases taken on in Houston, exceeding by nearly 20% of the matters that Baker Botts had agreed to handle. As a founding member of the HVL as well as the Houston Bar Association, Baker Botts has always been one of the leading law firms providing assistance for HVL.
Eric Faragi Awarded the 2015 President's Pro Bono Service Award
Eric Faragi, Intellectual Property Special Counsel in the firm’s New York City office, is the recipient of the 2015 President’s Pro Bono Service Award for the Twelfth Judicial District from the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA). He accepted the award at the NYSBA’s Law Day luncheon at the State Bar Center in Albany, NY on May 5, 2015. The NYSBA annually bestows the President’s Pro Bono Service Awards to individuals and firms throughout the State who have rendered extraordinary pro bono service.
Mr. Faragi received the award for his work with pro bono clients in various family law matters for Her Justice (f/k/a inMotion), an organization which provides assistance to women who are the victims of domestic violence or who are otherwise impoverished.
He was the first attorney from Baker Botts to volunteer with Her Justice, and he has been a consistent volunteer and champion for Her Justice ever since, personally representing Her Justice clients, supervising other pro bono attorneys and recruiting his colleagues to volunteer with Her Justice. Mr. Faragi also received the John K. Geiger Award from Her Justice as part of its 2013 Commitment to Justice Awards.
Louis Layrisson Receives President's Award
Louis Layrisson, a senior associate in our Energy Litigation group in the Houston office, received the President’s Award for his work as co-chair of the LegalLine Committee for the 2014-2015 bar year.
Baker Botts Recognized as an Equal Access to Justice Grand Champion
Houston Volunteer Lawyers (“HVL”), which is a non-profit service of the Houston Bar Association, has recognized the firm’s Houston Pro Bono Program as an Equal Access to Justice Grand Champion for 2015-2016.
The mission of HVL is to provide free legal services to low-income people in Harris County and to promote volunteerism among lawyers. As a participant in the Equal Access to Justice Program since its inception, Baker Botts supports HVL's mission and commits to handle a certain number of HVL cases in each Bar year. As a Grand Champion, Baker Botts handled more than twice the number of cases that the firm was required to handle under the program.
As a Grand Champion, Baker Botts' Houston Pro Bono Program assisted low income clients with a wide array of legal matters such as custody or divorce struggles for victims of domestic violence, resolution of tax liabilities for those with low or no income, guardianship of mentally disabled adult children and juvenile records dismissal.
Alissa R. Gomez, Executive Director at HVL stated, "Baker Botts has a clear commitment to pro bono legal services. Houston is fortunate to have such generous professionals willing to help those who cannot afford legal counsel."