The Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Division will present its Michael K. Smith Excellence in Service Award to Dan McKenna, a litigation associate at Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP. Mr. McKenna will receive the award during the group's annual meeting on June 2 in Pittsburgh.

The Smith award is named in memory of a young Philadelphia lawyer committed to providing legal services to low-income people and educational programs to students. It is presented annually to a young lawyer who, through his exemplary personal and professional conduct, reminds lawyers of their professional and community responsibilities.

Mr. McKenna was chosen by the American Bar Association to oversee the national implementation of the Wills For Heroes program. When he signed on, the program was active in only a handful of states. It is now thriving in 22 states and is the firmwide service project at Ballard Spahr.

Wills for Heroes is a program in which lawyers volunteer time to draft free wills and give no-cost estate-planning advice to paramedics, firefighters, and first responders. The program was developed after it was discovered that many of the heroes who died on September 11, 2001, did not have adequate estate plans in place for their families.

"Pennsylvania has one of the highest numbers of volunteer first responders in the nation," Mr. McKenna said. "These people risk their lives to protect us every day. The least we can do is to help protect their families in the event of a worst-case scenario. It brings them peace of mind, and I'm proud to do it."

Mr. McKenna serves on the national board of the Wills for Heroes Foundation, and he is the mentorship coordinator and past public service coordinator for the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, which has adopted Wills for Heroes as one of its primary public service projects. Mr. McKenna also coaches the Ballard Spahr-sponsored mock trial team at Constitution High School for American Studies, a college preparatory charter high school in Philadelphia.

"Dan leads by example, devoting hour upon hour of his time to the Wills for Heroes program," said Young Lawyers Division Chair Ryan Blazure. "Hundreds of Pennsylvania's first responders and their families will benefit from Dan's work."

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