Ballard Spahr litigator Daniel JT McKenna has been selected to receive the 2013 Sandra Day O’Connor Award for Professional Service by the American Inns of Court. The annual award honors an American Inns of Court member in practice for 10 or fewer years for excellence in public interest or pro bono activities.

The award will be presented on October 19, 2013, at the annual American Inns of Court Celebration of Excellence at the U.S. Supreme Court. The event will be hosted by Associate Justice Elena Kagan.

"The recognition is an honor but it is secondary to the satisfaction I get from providing people with legal services they couldn’t otherwise afford," said Mr. McKenna, an associate who performs nearly 250 hours of pro bono service annually. "I believe in giving back, and that strong and continued dedication to pro bono service is mirrored by everyone at Ballard Spahr, from the top down. It is one of the things that make the firm a rewarding place to work."

Mr. McKenna's pro bono work includes running the nationwide Wills for Heroes Foundation as its president. Through the Foundation's Wills for Heroes program, volunteer lawyers and legal professionals provide estate-planning documents for first responders and emergency personnel. Ballard Spahr has joined Mr. McKenna in this effort by naming Wills for Heroes as the firm's public service project.

Mr. McKenna and his wife, Kristen, also a lawyer, founded Law-Suits, an organization that provides mock trial team members with appropriate courtroom attire. Mr. McKenna volunteers his time as coach of the mock trial team at Philadelphia’s Constitution High School. He also serves on the board of directors of Clarifi, a nonprofit that assists consumers struggling with debt and provides financial literacy programs to help them gain control of their finances.

Mr. McKenna has been honored with numerous awards, including two American Bar Association Star of the Year Awards, the Pennsylvania Bar Association Michael K. Smith Pro Bono Award, and the American Lawyers Media Unsung Heroes Award. He was named a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer in 2013.

Mr. McKenna is a member of Ballard Spahr's Litigation Department and its Consumer Financial Services, Privacy and Data Security, and Mortgage Banking Groups. He counsels financial services institutions on regulatory compliance, fair lending compliance, and litigation compliance issues and defends them in individual and class actions brought by consumers and government agencies.

The American Inns of Court, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, fosters excellence in professionalism, ethics, civility, and legal skills. The organization’s membership includes more than 30,000 federal, state, and local judges, lawyers, law professors, and law students in more than 360 chapters nationwide.

Related Areas

Pro Bono