OSBA Honors Cleveland Attorney for Volunteer Services
Deborah A. Coleman.
Deborah A. Coleman.
Cleveland attorney Deborah A. Coleman was honored today with a state award for her volunteer services. Coleman received the 2013 John C. and Ginny Elam Pro Bono Award at the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) Annual Convention in Cleveland.
Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor handed out the award that recognizes outstanding pro bono legal work in Ohio.
“I am very surprised to receive the Elam Award, and humbled,” Coleman said. “The needs of those who cannot afford legal counsel are great, and they have increased during the economic contraction of the past five years. I am looking forward to doing much more pro bono work in the next 10-15 years.”
Coleman said she knew going into law school that she would help those in need and make positive social changes when she became a lawyer.
“As a lawyer who has had the privilege of a good education and a challenging and rewarding private practice career, I feel that my pro bonowork is the least I can do,” Coleman said. “I strongly encourage Ohio lawyers to contribute to pro bonoefforts in their communities with their time, as well as their money.”
Coleman is a partner at Hahn Loeser & Parks LLP. She also was a member of the Ohio Supreme Court’s Task Force on the Rules of Professional Conduct. Coleman was nominated by Ann McGowan Porath of the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland. Porath said Coleman “plays a critical role in providing ‘justice for all,’ rather than ‘justice for those who can afford it.’”
“Her commitment to pro bono and volunteer service is of the highest standard – one that all members of the private bar should aspire to achieve. She makes a difference in the lives of many individuals whose basic needs are protected only by having access to the justice system,” Porath said.
In addition to receiving a plaque, Coleman designated a $5,000 grant from the John C. and Ginny Elam Family Fund of the Columbus Bar Foundation to the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.
Coleman said she has worked with the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland for years, and said its lawyers and support staff are dedicated and committed to making a real contribution in addressing the legal needs of those who cannot afford attorneys.
Across Ohio, attorneys performed more than 100,000 hours of pro bono service, according to figures released by the Ohio Supreme Court this week.