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Sutherland Receives the American Bar Association's National Public Service Award

April 19, 2004

ATLANTA (April 19, 2004)Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP has been selected as the recipient of the American Bar Association Section of Business Law Committee on Pro Bono's 2004 National Public Service Award.  Sutherland's nomination came from the State Bar of Georgia's A Business Commitment (ABC) Committee, which promotes business lawyer pro bono efforts in Georgia.

The Award was presented to Sutherland partner Knox Dobbins, on behalf of the Firm, at the ABA's Business Law Section meeting in Seattle, Washington, on April 2, 2004.  The Award recognizes Sutherland for its commitment to providing pro bono legal services to the less fortunate in a business context.

"Giving back to the community is important and business lawyers - in transactional, general counsel, corporate governance and many other related contexts - can and should volunteer just as often as their litigation brethren," said Mr. Dobbins. "It is an honor that the National Public Service Award recognizes Sutherland, but also Georgia ABC, in this regard."

Specifically, nomination criteria included demonstrating dedication to the delivery of legal services to the poor in a business context through a pro bono program, developing innovative approaches to delivery of volunteer legal services, participating in activities which resulted in satisfying previously unmet needs, and providing sustained counsel to underserved individuals and organizations.  Sutherland's pro bono activities met each of these criteria.

Letters of support for Sutherland came from the Community Development Pro Bono Project of the DC Bar Pro Bono Program, the State Bar of Georgia Section of Business Law Committee on Pro Bono, the Lawyers Foundation of Georgia, Sapelo Island Cultural & Revitalization Society, Inc., the Georgia Community Loan Fund, and the People of Hope Cooperative.

"We are delighted to be honored by this award," explained Sutherland's Managing Partner James L. Henderson.  "One of the many reasons it is so special is because of the way the nomination, and our involvement with Georgia ABC, was developed – through a relationship with a long-time firm client."

Sutherland has a long and distinguished history of public service beginning with the work of its founding partners, Bill Sutherland and Elbert Tuttle, on habeas corpus cases, including Johnson v. Zerbst, in the 1930's.  The tradition of public service that they began continues today in many contexts, the most recent of which is business pro bono.

Business pro bono got its start at Sutherland in 1993 when Ford Motor Company's General Counsel Jack Martin contacted Sutherland in search of a corporate partner to assist in developing the ABA's ABC Project.  Mr. Dobbins accepted the charge and has since served on the Project as a leader in promoting public service work for business lawyers.

The State Bar of Georgia has recognized three of Sutherland's attorneys, Mr. Dobbins and Charles T. Lester, with the H. Sol Clark Award, the Georgia Bar's highest "commitment to pro bono service" award.  Sutherland partner W. Scott Wright was selected by the Bar's ABC Pro Bono Committee as the 2001 recipient of the ABC Pro Bono Award for service to the nonprofit community.

Recently, The American Lawyer listed Sutherland as one of its Pro Bono Powerhouses.  The firm is ranked 14th in the nation for its pro bono activity.  No other major Atlanta law firm is within the top 30 of the Pro Bono Powerhouse list.

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is a national law firm known for solving challenging business problems and resolving unique legal issues for many of the nation's largest companies.  Founded in 1924, the firm has grown to more than 350 lawyers with offices in Atlanta, Austin, Houston, New York, Tallahassee and Washington.  For further information about the firm, please visit

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