around the bar
April 29, 2010

Illinois, Tennessee Bars Nationally Recognized by ABA

Oklahoma Judge Levine, Maine Retired Justice Dana also Acknowledged

Illinois State Bar Representatives with Lamm and Robinson

Illinois State Bar Representatives with Lamm and Robinson (photo by Lisa Helfert)

ABA Day brings hundreds of state, local and specialty leaders to Washington D.C. each year for visits with members of Congress, legislative training and issues briefings.  During the three-day event, held April 20 – 22, bar associations and individuals who have been active and effective in lobbying their congressional delegations throughout the year are honored in front of their peers with the ABA Day Grassroots Award.

While the ABA Governmental Affairs Office works with Congress and the Executive branch on a daily basis throughout the year, effective contacts from ABA members and state and local bar leaders, in their roles as local community leaders and constituents, are an integral part of the association’s lobbying efforts.

This year, two state bar associations as well as two individuals were presented with Grassroots Awards by ABA President Carolyn B. Lamm and ABA Standing Committee on Governmental Affairs Chair Bill Robinson.

The Tennessee Bar Association was honored for its effectiveness in lobbying on behalf of improving and modernizing funding for Legal Services Corporation.  Advocating on behalf of student loan forgiveness, tort and bankruptcy reform, and funding of Legal Services Corporation brought recognition to the Illinois State Bar Association.

The two individual winners of the ABA Day 2010 Grassroots Award are Howard H. Dana, retired Maine Supreme Judicial Court associate justice, and U.S. Administrative Law Judge Jodi B. Levine.

Lamm and Robinson present Tennessee Bar with Grassroots Award

Lamm and Robinson present Tennessee Bar with Grassroots Award (photo by Lisa Helfert)

Dana now serves as counsel in the Portland office of Verrill Dana LLP.  His efforts to educate Congress on the need for better funding of LSC and advocacy on behalf of the Legal Services Benefit Act were the catalysts for his honor.  (Dana was unable to attend the event due to travel difficulties.)

A longtime Oklahoma City resident, Levine serves there in the Social Security Administration Office of Disability Adjudication and Review.  Levine’s work with the ABA in educating congressional staff on the Social Security disability appeals process through leading numerous “mock hearings” on Capitol Hill was a primary reason for her being selected as one of the grassroots honorees.

On opening day of the meetings, ABA President Carolyn Lamm presented congressional awards to four members of Congress in appreciation for their efforts to improve the American justice system.