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ABA Section of Business Law to Honor Detroit Firm for Dedicated Service to the Poor

SAN FRANCISCO, April 15, 1999 – The Pro Bono Committee of the _ Section of Business Law will present a National Public Service Award to the Detroit law firm Dykema Gossett at the Section’s Spring Meeting Luncheon in San Francisco tomorrow. Also being recognized with a National Public Service Award is Philadelphia lawyer David T. Sykes, who will accept his award in August at the ABA Annual Meeting in Atlanta.

The National Public Service Award is presented annually to individuals, firms, or corporate legal departments that have demonstrated a commitment to providing pro bono (free) legal services to the poor in a business context.

Dykema Gossett PLLC has distinguished itself through its dedication to providing legal services to the poor. Participating in Community Legal Resources (CLR), a collaborative effort of Michigan Legal Services and the State Bar of Michigan, the firm’s attorneys have engaged in a wide variety of activities on behalf of nonprofit organizations that serve low-income communities. Dykema Gossett lawyers handled 19 of the 38 pro bono matters in CLR’s first year of existence.

The firm’s attorneys have drafted mortgages, established corporate subsidiaries, drafted purchase agreements for real property, researched business licensing and permitting issues, applied for tax exempt status, drafted corporate organizational documents, researched zoning laws, and engaged in arbitration and litigation, all on behalf of poor individuals and organizations that serve the poor.

Sykes is vice-chair of the Philadelphia law firm Duane Morris & Hecksher. In 1992, he became the first president of the Board of Directors of the Consumer Bankruptcy Assistance Project (CBAP). In this capacity, he pioneered an effort in which more than 100 members of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania’s bankruptcy bar volunteer to provide pro bono legal services to men and women living below the federal poverty line.

Demonstrating a steadfast commitment to CBAP, Sykes wrote grant proposals, solicited donations, oversaw the production of a new regional bankruptcy resource directory, and acted as chief spokesman for the project, carrying news of its success to national organizations including the ABA, the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, the American Bankruptcy Institute, and the American College of Bankruptcy. Since 1992, more than 4,000 individuals have received quality legal services as a result of this project.

Demonstrating a steadfast commitment to CBAP, Sykes wrote grant proposals, solicited donations, oversaw the production of a new regional bankruptcy resource directory, and acted as chief spokesman for the project, carrying news of its success to national organizations including the ABA, the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, the American Bankruptcy Institute, and the American College of Bankruptcy. Since 1992, more than 4,000 individuals have received quality legal services as a result of this project.

With more than 50,000 members, the ABA Section of Business Law provides business lawyers with education and analysis that furthers the development and improvement of business law and helps its members serve their clients competently, efficiently and professionally.

The _ is the largest voluntary professional association in the world. With more than 400,000 members, the ABA provides law school accreditation, continuing legal education, information about the law, programs to assist lawyers and judges in their work, and initiatives to improve the legal system for the public.