Three Local Attorneys Honored for Community Impact at Annual Pro Bono Awards Event
Friday, April 1st, 2022
Three local attorneys were recognized for their outstanding pro bono contributions to the Greater Savannah Region on Thursday, March 24, at the 2021 Pro Bono Awards, presented by the Savannah Bar Association (SBA), in partnership with Georgia Legal Services Program (GLSP). Speaking at the event was Will A. Gunn, General Counsel and Vice President of Legal Affairs at Legal Services Corporation (LSC) and former General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs under President Barack Obama.
Pro bono service – when attorneys take on legal matters without the expectation of being paid – is one of the most impactful ways that attorneys choose to give back to their communities and meet their ethical obligations. In 2021, of the 1,400 cases accepted by GLSP’s Savannah office, nearly 170 were handled on a pro bono basis by 42 area attorneys with a commitment to service.
The honorees at this year’s Pro Bono Awards exemplify that commitment.
Joey Turner, recipient of the Pro Bono Champion Award, handled the highest number of pro bono cases in 2021. The two-time recipient of the award, who works for The Turner Firm, handled 30 pro bono cases last year, representing clients seeking protective orders in domestic violence situations and drafting wills for Savannah seniors. Despite practicing law throughout southern Georgia for more than a decade, Turner wasn’t initially aware of the need for pro bono volunteers until he connected with GLSP in 2020.
"I never realized that Georgia Legal Services had such a need for attorney volunteers,” said Turner. “As an attorney blessed with a thriving practice, I feel that it is my obligation to help any way I can. I continue to encourage all of my lawyer friends to give some of their time to this worthy cause.”
This year’s other honorees prove that Turner is not alone in his commitment to service.
Luke Bradley, recipient of the Pro Bono Advocate-Savannah Award for exceptional service to the underserved in the Savannah area, was able to apply his specialized expertise in representing a recent pro bono client. Bradley, a partner and primary appellate specialist at Bouhan Falligant LLP, learned that a protective order secured by another pro bono attorney on behalf of a client in domestic violence case was being appealed by the opposing party. Because appeals can be complicated and time-consuming, pro bono attorneys are often unable to handle them. Bradley pursued the appeal and won the case at the Court of Appeals and allowing the order of protection to remain in place. He also consulted on appellate matters for GLSP throughout the year.
Matt Hube, recipient of the Pro Bono Advocate-Regional Award for exceptional service to the area’s underserved residents outside of Chatham County, was one of GLSP’s most consistent pro bono volunteers during 2021. Hube, attorney at The Hube Law Firm, has a broad range of expertise, developed during his more than 20 years of practice in the Statesboro area, prepared him to answer calls for assistance whenever there is a need – especially in protective order proceedings.
Guest Speaker Will A. Gunn Underscores Importance of Pro Bono in Serving Most Vulnerable
As a key leader at LSC, the largest funder of civil aid programs in the U.S., guest speaker Will A. Gunn understands the impact that pro bono attorneys have in ensuring that low-income individuals and families have meaningful access to the legal process, particularly in rural areas in which few attorneys practice. His own history of service – as a former White House Fellow, a retired Air Force colonel, former General Counsel for the VA, and later as an attorney assisting military members facing adverse actions – gives him an understanding of the call to serve felt by attorneys like those who participate in the GLSP pro bono program.
In speaking about the importance of pro bono and the impact that this year’s honorees had on their communities, Gunn said, “Justice for all is one of our nation’s core values. However, many Americans go without legal representation because they simply can’t afford to pay for the legal help that they need. For people in that situation, there’s a gap between legal needs and access to justice. I’m excited that the Georgia Legal Services Program is recognizing legal professionals who are using their time and talent to bridge this justice gap through pro bono representation. ”