For its leadership in creating successful pro bono committees and programs across the country, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of the Solicitor has received the John C. Cruden Federal Agency Pro Bono Leadership Award.
The federal agency leadership award, administered by the Interagency Pro Bono Working Group, recognizes a government agency that has demonstrated the most significant growth and commitment to encouraging and facilitating pro bono work among its employees during the last two years. The award is named for John C. Cruden, a longtime U.S. Department of Justice attorney who tirelessly advocated volunteer work by government attorneys.
This award shows our commitment to serving people in our communities.
Over the last two years, the Office of the Solicitor, with the SOL pro bono committee, revitalized its pro bono program and created a culture where appropriate volunteer opportunities for Department employees were made more accessible and where support was provided for engaging in pro bono work. The program formed relationships with local legal services organizations, such as the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless and the Neighborhood Legal Services Program, where Department employees assisted with housing voucher discrimination cases. Over all, the program fostered a 40 percent increase in the number of pro bono hours by attorneys in the Office of the Solicitor in Fiscal Year 2017.
According to the federal government Pro Bono program manager, “The Department of Labor has developed an exemplary pro bono program both at its headquarters and nationally. Notable leadership support, ambitious policy development, and excellent programming provide DOL attorneys with access to information and opportunities to volunteer. We hope that other agencies will be inspired to follow DOL’s lead.”
I am grateful to the staff in the Office of the Solicitor; the SOL pro bono committee, especially SOL pro bono program co-coordinators Deborah Birnbaum and Claire Rodriguez; the Judicial Conference of the District of Columbia Circuit; and many others in the Department’s national and regional offices for their support of our pro bono activities.
Katherine E. Bissell is the deputy solicitor for regional enforcement in the Department’s Office of the Solicitor.