The Illinois State Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Delivery of Legal Services has selected Drendel & Jansons to receive the 2015-2016 John C. McAndrews Pro Bono Service Award in the outstanding Law Firm/Corporate Law Department/Small Firm/Organization category. The award is given out to one local bar association, one individual attorney and one or two law firms in the State each year.
“Pro bono” is Latin meaning “for the public good”, and use of legal skill, knowledge and experience for the public good is considered an obligation of the legal profession by the American Bat Association (ABA). Among the criteria for the award is the effort undertaken to meet the ABA Standards for Pro Bono involvement through organized pro bono programs, the successful litigation of pro bono cases, the development and innovation of approaches to pro bono service and other things.
The Drendel & Jansons Law Group was nominated for the award by Marcy Heston at Prairie State Legal Services, following on the heels of her nomination of Mark D. Brent for the Kane County Bar Association (KCBA) Community Service Award in 2015 for his dedication to Prairie State. Mark Brent received that award from the KCBA last year, and the basis for the nomination and award was the fact that he began asking for and handling a pro bono case every month beginning in 2014.
Since receiving the KCBA Community Service Award, Mark Brent has continued to take a case faithfully every month, and he shows no signs of letting up in spite of his very busy schedule.
We are particularly proud of this award, as we have been purposefully committed to the professionalism of pro bono service going back to the example set by Gilbert (Gib) X. Drendel, Jr., the founder of the predecessor firm, who received not only the KCBA Community Service Award, but the State (ISBA) Community Service Award in 1996. Gilbert Drendel set a great example of what it means to be a professional that we attempt to live out still.
Roman J. Seckel has also been recognized for his pro bono service, having been nominated as the pro bono Volunteer of the Month by Administer Justice in December 2010 and awarded that distinction by Illinois Legal Aid online. Roman has taken many pro bono cases for Administer Justice and for Prairie State Legal Services, and he volunteers time as a Lawyer in the Lobby at the courthouse to help people representing themselves navigate the court process.
Kevin G. Drendel has been involved with Administer Justice as well volunteering at Saturday morning legal aid clinics. Kevin Drendel recently became the supervising attorney for the Aurora clinic at Wayside Cross. The clinics are set up to provide people with access to Attorneys who could not otherwise afford legal advice, and allows them to obtain appropriate direction for further assistance to resolve those issues.
Kevin Drendel also provides pro bono or substantially reduced rate legal fees to various non-profit organizations, including Batavia Access Television (BATV), the Batavia Wrestling Club, the Blackhawk Wrestling Club, the Fox Valley Music Foundation, the North Aurora River District Alliance (NOARDA), Operation Welcome You Home and others.
Lawrence W. Lobb routinely takes cases from Administer Justice for low income clients who are struggling with debt or foreclosure, and G. Tyler Stevenson participated as a “Lawyer in the Lobby” at the Old Courthouse, a program of the Kane County Bar Association to help people without an attorney represent themselves in court.
Carolyn D. Jansons has always taken Prairie State Legal Services cases and has been known to take on crusades of her own for clients who simply have nowhere to turn and are desperately in need of help. Carolyn Jansons has litigated cases up to the Appellate Court for clients she felt were not getting the kind of justice they deserved and needed an advocate.
These are extensions of the commitment to the ideal of professionalism that is promoted by bar associations at every level, from national to the local level. The Drendel & Jansons Law Group is proud of the legal profession and that traditional commitment to giving back to the community that is part and parcel of what it means to be a professional in the traditional sense. Roman Seckel does a good explaining his and he Firm’s philosophy on pro bono service in the following interview.