2015 Extraordinary Pro Bono Service Awards
Outstanding Individual Attorney - Rebecca K. Lindahl
The winner of the 2015 Outstanding Individual Attorney award is Ms. Rebecca K. Lindahl with Katten Muchin Rosenman. Ms. Lindahl is a skilled litigator, an exceptional community leader, and a member of the Bar Leadership Institute Class of 2011. Her work with domestic violence victims and other disadvantaged members of our community is extraordinary.
Ms. Lindahl volunteers with Safe Alliance and has chaired its Barrister’s Ball to raise funds for the organization and awareness of domestic violence in our community. She also serves on the board of directors at the Hospitality House of Charlotte, organizes fundraisers, and even works the front desk.
In 2014 alone, Ms. Lindahl handled 10 complex cases for Safe Alliance, devoting almost 100 pro bono hours to helping victims of domestic violence who would otherwise be unable to afford legal representation. She has also helped in the appeal of a large retroactive property tax matter for the Hospitality House of Charlotte. With her assistance, the tax assessment was reversed and its charitable status was confirmed.
Outstanding Collaborative Project - Sodoma Law
The winner of the 2015 Outstanding Collaborative Project Award goes to Sodoma Law. In February 2014, Sodoma Law announced the formation of the Sodoma Law Foundation. The Foundation aggregates the firm’s charitable endeavors into areas where it can make the maximum impact. Part of those charitable endeavors includes 382 hours of pro bono service the firm’s 10 attorneys provided last year to community members, children, and nonprofit organizations. This volunteerism is a firm-wide effort that involves Sodoma Law’s attorneys, paralegals, law clerks, and legal assistants and, in 2014, enabled them to represent 47 clients on a pro bono basis. The organizations and programs the firm supports include the Council for Children’s Rights, Safe Alliance, and the NCBA’s Lawyer-on-the-Line program.
Because the Sodoma Law Foundation is deeply rooted in family law, its attorneys are particularly committed to helping the children in our community, whether affected by divorce, domestic violence, or other issues. It not only supports nonprofit organizations with similar missions, but it also serves the community by teaching seminars free of charge to other attorneys and non-attorneys on domestic matters, such as reducing conflict in high-conflict custody cases.
The Sodoma Law Foundation has pledged an ongoing donation to the Dreamcatcher Society at Levine Children’s Hospital, a group devoted to making possible projects that enhance patients’ quality care. It also works with and supports School Tools, Coats for Kids, Charlotte Peace at Home, Pat’s Place, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Carolina Healthcare Foundation, Make a Wish, Good Friends, Firstgiving, Susan G. Komen, Second Harvest Food Bank, Historic Charlotte, Katie’s Kidz, and the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation.
Extraordinary Bar and/or Foundation Service - Carol Jones Van Buren
The winner of the Extraordinary Bar and Foundation Service Award is Carol Jones Van Buren of Van Buren Law.
Recruited by Pender McElroy in 2010, Ms. Van Buren agreed to assist the Bar and the Foundation with coordinating specific aspects of the construction of the new Bar & Foundation Center. She dedicated over 100 volunteer hours including days, nights, and weekends to the project. Carol’s work included negotiating the Brownfields Agreement with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), coordinating engineering and environmental reports, and preparing a Brownfields Agreement cost estimate complete with anticipated negotiation and testing. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields program works to assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse properties that may have been contaminated and, as an efficient and effective communicator, Carol led and directed the effort to expedite this redevelopment process after minimal contamination was found on the property. The success of this undertaking was a direct result of Carol’s continued work with the DENR and environmental consultants.
Ms. Van Buren worked with an avid commitment and acted as a consultant throughout the planning, strategizing, and building process. Her dedication allowed the Bar and the Foundation a smoother decision-making process while building this new, beautiful Bar & Foundation Center. We owe her a great deal of gratitude for her tireless efforts.