Ballard Spahr has announced the 2011 recipients of the firm's Pro Bono Awards, presented annually to lawyers and other professionals for significant pro bono contributions to people and community organizations in need. This year, four individuals or groups from the firm's New Jersey, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, and Bethesda offices were honored.

For each Pro Bono Award, Ballard Spahr donates $1,000 to a charitable organization chosen by the recipients. These awards are in addition to the $25,000 Alan J. Davis Award recognizing outstanding public service.

In 2011, the honorees are:

Rutgers Children's SSI Team. Attorneys and staff from Ballard Spahr's New Jersey office partnered with Rutgers Law School and South Jersey Legal Services to successfully appeal the denial of Social Security benefits to five children suffering from physical, emotional, educational, and behavioral disabilities. The team, comprising David A. Haworth, Christopher N. Tomlin, Stephanie Marguccio, and Connie A. Buttil, has donated its award to South Jersey Legal Services' Children's Supplemental Security Income Project.

Sustainable Food Projects: Joel E. Tasca and Erica A. Leatham. Mr. Tasca represented Urban Tree Connection (UTC), which engages impoverished Philadelphia communities to turn vacant lots into urban farms and provide access to fresh produce, in the first successful petition under the Pennsylvania Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Act, enabling UTC to become conservatotor of a property central to its urban farm initiative. Ms. Leatham assisted Common Good City Farm, an urban farm and education center for low-income residents in Washington, D.C., with land use and permitting issues to enable construction and improvements. Mr. Tasca and Ms. Leatham have divided their award between Urban Tree Connection and Common Good City Farm.

Las Vegas Initiative. Las Vegas attorneys cultivated an office-wide commitment to pro bono projects. Their efforts included organizing and staffing a legal clinic for homeless people and starting a child advocacy practice. In October 2010, Nevada Legal Services named Ballard Spahr Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year. The initiative was led by Bill Curran, with support from Christine V. Grady, Robert C. Kim, Ann Marie McLoughlin, Robert E. McPeak, Michael M. Miles, Timothy R. Mulliner, Alissa L. Neufeld, Maren Parry, Stanley W. Parry, Jon Theodore Pearson, Mary F. Sedillo, and Abran Vigil. The office has donated its award to the United Way's Earned Income Tax Credit Program.

Jean C. Hemphill, recipient of the Distinguished Service Award. For many years, Ms. Hemphill has served as an engaged leader, offering advice and guidance on pro bono work for nonprofit organizations. In addition to being a valuable resource for attorneys working with nonprofits, Ms. Hemphill regularly mentors and supervises young lawyers, providing them with valuable training on nonprofit formation. Ms. Hemphill has asked that her donation be made to the National Health Law Program.