Press Release

Denver Ballard Spahr Pro Bono Team Donates $25K to Land Rights Council

January 26, 2022

The Denver-based Ballard Spahr team that recently won the firm’s Alan J. Davis Award for outstanding pro bono work has designated its $25,000 prize to Land Rights Council, a non-profit based in San Luis, Colorado.

The 2020 Alan J. Davis Award, awarded last month, went to a team of litigators for obtaining a favorable statement from the bench in litigation spanning more than 40 years involving the Taylor Ranch in the San Luis Valley in south-central Colorado. The team—including attorneys Sarah Wallace, Alexia Chapman, Chad Jimenez, Andrew Valencia, and staff member Sherri Clark—fought to preserve the right of historical landowners to access an 83,000-acre mountainous parcel for grazing, timber, and firewood collection.

Established in 1978, the Land Rights Council is the oldest Chicano land-grant advocacy organization in Colorado. The council focuses on land loss and local environmental issues in Costilla County, Colorado, near the New Mexico border. Manned by a volunteer board of directors, one of the primary goals of the Land Rights Council was to obtain and now is to protect the residents’ access to the Taylor Ranch.

The Alan J. Davis Award is named for the late Philadelphia City Solicitor and distinguished Ballard Spahr litigator who was deeply devoted to public service. Across the firm’s 15 offices, Ballard Spahr attorneys set a record by contributing 52,909 hours of pro bono legal service in 2020. Some 235 of the firm’s lawyers were named to the pro bono honor roll for contributing 50 hours or more of pro bono service that year. The funds donated to Land Rights Council are part of the $45,000 the firm donated at its annual awards ceremony in recognition of its attorneys’ pro bono work. Under the firm’s pro bono program, lawyers involved in an award-wining engagement get to select the civic or charitable organization that receives the monetary prize.

In this instance, “the team could think of no better way to thank the amazing people of Costilla County for giving us the opportunity to represent them in this historical case than to donate the $25,000 right back to the cause,” Ms. Wallace said of the decision to donate the $25,000 to the Land Rights Council.

For further information, please visit Ballard Spahr’s full press release on its annual pro bono recognition.

For media inquiries, please contact Will Ashenmacher at 612.371.5792.

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