Legal Aid of Marin and the Marin County Bar Association hosted the 2017 Pro Bono Appreciation Awards lunch on Wednesday, March 22 at Rickey’s in Ignacio. The lunch was an opportunity for LAM, local dignitaries, judges, and members of the Bar to mix it up and celebrate the generosity and hard work of this year’s recipients of the Wiley W. Manual Award. The Wiley Award honors attorneys and community volunteers who have donated 50 hours or more of their time to pro bono work for underserved communities through LAM.

The award recipients honored at the lunch included: Yvette Nelson (143 hours), James Poindexter (125 hours), George Shea (62 hours), Robert Harrison (56 hours), Pieter Bogaards (54 hours), Matthew Briggs (50 hours), and Ahtossa Fullerton (50 hours) among the attorneys; and Luke Phillips (324 hours), Dannielle Antone (306 hours), Wesley Labat (280 hours), Jason Sanchez (184 hours), Laura Gildengorin (109 hours), Nancy Frease (82 hours), Katerina Siefhas (75 hours), Karen Karlow (64 hours), Susan Brennan (52 hours), Robert Harris Jr. (50 hours), Beth Brandes (50 hours), and Vincent Simpson (50 hours) among the community volunteers.

Morrison & Forrester received an award of Special Recognition, and Michael Agoglia of MoFo gave the keynote speech. MoFo lawyers donated hundreds of hours of their time to prosecuting a compelling habitability case for a group of low-income, immigrant families in Novato. He described the hard work that went into the case, and spoke passionately about the profound satisfaction that he and his team felt in bringing high quality representation to families who ordinarily could not afford any legal representation. He noted that while he was personally disappointed not to take the case to trial, he was pleased that case recently settled on favorable terms that -- in addition to providing substantial monetary settlements to the clients -- allowed them to stay and feel safe in their homes under markedly improved conditions.

While the satisfaction of helping others is its own reward, a good time was had by all in thanking the award recipients and the many others who have given generously of their time over the past year to the courts, Lawyers in the Libraries, the landlord-tenant settlement program, Modest Means Mediation and other worthy pro bono efforts.