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Pro Bono Volunteer wins for services to veterans

Richmond lawyer Thomas W. Bruno is this year’s Benjamin Rice Lacy IV Volunteer Attorney of the Year for the Greater Richmond Bar Foundation’s Pro Bono Clearinghouse.

Bruno, who received the award Oct. 23 in a program at the Virginia War Memorial, has been recognized for providing pro bono legal services to Family Healing Place for Veterans, a nonprofit group that provides overnight accommodations and recreational activities for wounded and disabled veterans and their families.

Bruno, an associate with McGuireWoods in Richmond, took on the nonprofit client through the Pro Bono Clearinghouse, a program that links attorneys to area nonprofit organizations that need legal services.

Bill Janis, deputy commissioner of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services, presented the award on behalf of the GRBF. He cited Bruno’s work for the group as including preparing articles of incorporation and filing necessary documents with the State Corporation Commission, obtaining 501(c)(3) charitable status under federal tax regulations, preparing disclosure statements and establishing a gifts policy and a conflict of interest policy.

Working with Family Healing Place “was a wonderful experience for me,” Bruno said. The Foundation makes it easy to find a way to do pro bono, especially for corporate and commercial lawyers like Bruno. “All you have to do is raise your hand and say, yes, I want to help,” and the Pro Bono Clearinghouse can match a lawyer’s skills and interests with a nonprofit client.

Leslie A.T.  Haley, president of the GRBF’s board of directors, said a highlight of this year’s program is the renaming of the award for the late Ben Lacy, a lawyer with Sands Anderson who served on the Foundation’s board and was the first recipient of the GRBF award in 2008.

Haley said pro bono service may be a duty under professional rules that govern lawyers, “but for most of us here, it’s an honor and a service, and Ben’s life was all about service.”

The Oct. 23 reception marks the GRBF’s celebration of the American Bar Association’s National Pro Bono Week from Oct. 22-26. Event premier sponsors Haley Buick GMC and Dominion joined Janis in welcoming guests to the Virginia War Memorial.
–Deborah Elkins

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