Pro Bono Awards

The State Bar’s Pro Bono Excellence Awards recognize individuals and groups whose work exemplifies a deep commitment to pro bono service. There are awards in several categories, from pro bono coordinator to judge. Each year the awards are presented at the State Bar’s Annual Meeting.

Frank J. Scurlock Award

This award honors an individual attorney, in good standing, who has provided outstanding pro bono work.  The award is named for the late Frank J. Scurlock, the first chair of the Legal Services to the Poor in Civil Matters Committee.  Scurlock was known for his tireless efforts to provide legal services to the poor.

J. Chrys Dougherty Legal Services Award

This award recognizes an outstanding legal services staff attorney. The award is named for J. Chrys Dougherty, a private attorney and Bar leader, whose efforts helped to build a strong working partnership between the State Bar of Texas and legal services providers. The award includes a $1,500 stipend from the Texas Bar Foundation and a contribution from Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody.

Judge Merrill Hartman Pro Bono Judge Award

This award honors a judge, sitting or retired, who has provided exemplary pro bono service, including: outreach to attorneys to increase the quantity and quality of pro bono representation; modifications to court processes to increase access to justice; advocacy on behalf of access to justice; or service as a volunteer judge for pro bono clinics or other pro bono proceedings. The award is named after the late Judge Merrill Hartman of Dallas, a tireless advocate for low-income communities’ access to justice.

Pro Bono Award

This award honors a volunteer attorney organization that has made an outstanding contribution toward guaranteeing access to the legal system by the poor.

Pro Bono Coordinator Award

The Pro Bono Coordinator Award is presented to an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the delivery of, and access to, legal services for the poor, while serving as the pro bono coordinator for a volunteer attorney organization or group, local bar association, law firm, law school, corporate legal office, governmental law department or legal services organization.  Attorney and non-attorney pro bono coordinators are eligible and may self-nominate.

Pro Bono Support Staff Award

The Pro Bono Support Staff Award recognizes the outstanding and exemplary contributions of non-attorney volunteers such as paralegals, administrative assistants, interpreters, and other support staff who work on pro bono projects.

W. Frank Newton Award

This award recognizes the pro bono efforts of attorney groups (e.g., law firm, corporate law department, government attorney office, law school faculty) whose members have made an outstanding contribution toward increasing access to legal services for the poor.  The award is named for W. Frank Newton, former Dean of Texas Tech University School of Law and longtime pro bono advocate.