Through the Franklin S. Richards Pro Bono Community Service Award, the Law Society seeks to honor members who epitomize the virtues the Society espouses by providing service to the poor, the needy, and the disadvantaged.
The award's namesake, Franklin S. Richards, was appointed as the first General Counsel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in January 1880. As part of his duties, Brother Richards reviewed the state of the Church's land titles and played a key role in devising and facilitating legislative enactment of the "corporation sole" as a legal entity in western states that allows ownership and control of church properties to pass smoothly when a Church President dies.
Chapter leaders and Law Society members are invited to nominate members as award recipients.
Sterling Brennan's Introduction of Franklin S. Richards Pro Bono Award Recipients
Central to the mission of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society is for its members to bless the communities in which they live through service and example. Due to their personal religious beliefs, Law Society members can use their unique professional skills, experience, and leadership to enrich their communities with positive, religiously anchored professional service, by providing legal services to the unprotected or volunteering leadership to non-profit organizations and programs.
As Chief Justice Ronald M. George of the California Supreme Court observed at a state bar convention on September 5, 2003:
". . . [F]or many, . . . access to justice is far from easy. Many impediments exist, caused by language and cultural differences, physical or emotional barriers, lack of money, and inadequate information about available services.
The need for pro bono assistance is perhaps never more urgent than in a time of economic contraction. Whether it is a denial of public or private benefits, changes in child support and alimony payments, an inability to pay rent, an outstanding medical bill, an immigration problem, or some other problem, obtaining legal assistance can mean the difference between the successful resolution of a problem and a life-altering loss."
Those members of the Law Society who render pro bono assistance best epitomize the virtues that the Law Society espouses, and perhaps the admonitions of the Savior and His holy prophets to care for the poor, the needy, and the disadvantaged.
We honor tonight, as the first recipients of the Franklin S. Richards Pro Bono Achievement Award, two members of the Law Society who have helped the plight of those who, without pro bono representation, would stand injured and unprotected.
Please join me tonight in honoring Craig Galli and Mike Fehmel for their commitment and practical help to the otherwise un- or under-represented. Brief biographical sketches for our two honorees are on the back of your program.
Past Franklin S. Richards Pro Bono Award Recipients
Craig D. Galli
Craig Galli holds both bachelor and master degrees from BYU and his law degree from Columbia University. He is a partner in the Salt Lake City office of Holland & Hart, where he specializes in natural resources, environmental, and land use law. Craig is member of the International Board of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society.
Craig has actively participated in pro bono programs throughout his professional career. Craig his wife, Lark, and their four daughters served as welfare service missionaries in the Salt Lake Valley in 1998 and 1999. Since then, Craig has helped coordinate the pro bono work performed by volunteer attorneys who receive referrals from Church Service Missionaries working in the Inner City Project and Hispanic Initiative. Last year, Craig worked with other Law Society Board members to expand the Pro Bono Initiative and bring it under the auspices of the Salt Lake Chapter of the Law Society. Today, nearly 50 attorneys in the Salt Lake area devote hundreds of hours each year to provide pro bono legal advice and representation to the indigent throughout Salt Lake Valley. Craig is working with other Law Society chapters to expand the Society’s Pro Bono Initiative to other communities.
T. Michael Fehmel
Mike Fehmel obtained his undergraduate degree from UCLA and his law degree from Glendale University College Of Law. Mike is a member and former board member of the Los Angeles Chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society. His law firm, Fehmel & Associates, specializes in real estate transactions, international trade, and immigration. About 80 percent of his firm’s clients are Japanese, so Mike spends much of his time each day communicating in Japanese.
In early 2003, a bishop in the Glendale area contacted the Los Angeles Chapter of the Law Society about an immigration problem that a member of his ward was facing. The chapter tapped Mike, who agreed to take on the problem notwithstanding that there was a hearing in the matter the next day. As it turned out, the “hearing” was actually the first day of an asylum trial for a woman and her granddaughter who were seeking asylum from an Eastern European country, and who did not speak much English. They previously had been represented by unscrupulous agents who provided them fraudulent documents, took their money, and left their case in shambles. After three days of trial, Mike got the court to award the asylum his new pro bono clients were seeking.
The Lima Peru Chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society
The Lima Peru Chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society was awarded The Franklin S. Richards Pro Bono Service Award for its legal clinic which convenes once per month at a Stake Center in Lima and advises individuals and non-profit social organizations (e.g. Mothers’ Club, Glass of Milk Organization) who could otherwise not afford legal representation.
The chapter is looking to expand the reach of the pro bono program to the cities of Huancayo and Arequipa.
John L. Douglas
For the past 17 years John Douglas has used his expertise and training to assist, without compensation, in solving legal and financial problems of thousands around the world. To use one’s legal skills in service of others is the essence of pro bono publico. Based upon his experience as General Counsel of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation during the banking and thrift failures of the 1980s and his global bank regulatory practice at Paul Hastings, John was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Financial Services Volunteer Corporation in 1991. In this capacity, he has been instrumental in sending thousands of volunteers into over 40 countries. The purpose of this volunteer service has been to assist countries build strong banking systems and move from control or planned economies to market-based economies. In addition to projects in Russia, Egypt, Algeria , Morocco and Jordan, John’s most recent personal visit has been to Malawi in October where he assisted the Ministry of Finance and Reserve Bank of Malawi in dealing with two large insolvent banks and thereby assisting thousands of individuals. His next visit will likely be to India to coordinate the extension of banking services to villages which have never before been served.
Kent B. Linebaugh
Kent B Linebaugh is a senior attorney at the Jones Waldo law firm in Salt Lake City. Kent’s practice focuses on prosecuting and defending major civil litigation, including related appellate work. He has litigated many high profile cases. He has also served on the boards of directors of several corporations, been general counsel to a major real estate developer, and acted as counsel to numerous business entities and individuals with respect to personal and commercial interests. Kent has served as chair of the Young Lawyers’ Section of the Utah State Bar and as past president of the Alden J. Anderson Inn of Court.
Even with his busy and successful law practice, Kent has devoted significant time to providing pro bono service. Since 1996, Kent has been serving without interruption as a legal coordinator for the Inner City Project, the pro bono project of the Society’s Salt Lake Chapter. During this time, he has screened hundreds of matters and coordinated the services of attorneys who have volunteered their pro bono efforts. He is the currently the longest serving volunteer attorney in the Inner City Project.
William F. Atkin
A central part to the mission of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society is for its members to bless the communities in which they live through service and example. Tonight, it is my pleasure to present the Franklin S. Richards Pro Bono Community Service Award to an individual who has used his time, professional skills, experience, and leadership to enrich his community with positive, religious-anchored professional service,
William F. Atkin, this year’s award recipient, is already well-known to many of us. Bill is Associate General Counsel for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is responsible for the international legal affairs of the Church. He has been a strong advocate for pro bono and community service. Bill and his wife served as welfare service missionaries for Salt Lake’s “Inner City Project.” In that capacity, Bill worked closely with indigent people to address their legal and other temporal needs. After his welfare service mission, Bill was instrumental in establishing the framework for the Society to provide legal services through the Inner City Project and to expand the existing program in the Salt Lake area. Bill then developed the Legal Guidelines for the J. Reuben Clark Law Society to be used to expand the Society’s pro bono program beyond the Salt Lake Chapter. In addition, Bill has assisted those working with the Spanish-speaking community to address legal issues of common concern.
Bill’s dedication and service to others is exemplary. We honor Bill Atkin for his vision, leadership, and example that have benefited hundreds who would otherwise have gone without adequate legal assistance. We are pleased to award him the Franklin S. Richards Pro Bono Community Service Award.