Washington, D.C., Oct. 24, 2007 – LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – The Securities and Exchange Commission will receive the inaugural Federal Agency Pro Bono Leadership Award tomorrow for its outstanding commitment to the local community and helping others in need. The award from the Interagency Pro Bono Working Group is the federal government’s highest honor for efforts to promote pro bono service by employees.
“The SEC has a longstanding tradition of encouraging our staff to help in the community and serve others in need,” said SEC Chairman Christopher Cox. “Our pro bono coordinator, Anita Purcell, deserves tremendous credit for her dedication and leadership in these remarkable pro bono initiatives. The hard work of SEC employees is the hallmark of the agency’s success, and that’s just as true in volunteerism as it is with enforcement, rule writing, and other aspects of the SEC’s mission. This award recognizes that many people are benefiting from the generous volunteer spirit at the SEC.”
Laura Klein, chair of the Interagency Pro Bono Working Group, said, “The SEC has demonstrated the kind of leadership and commitment to government pro bono efforts that we hope will serve as an example to other agencies. The SEC’s senior management support and dedicated pro bono coordinator provide an environment that encourages its legal staff to explore pro bono opportunities. We hope other agencies will follow the SEC’s lead.”
Earlier this year, the SEC was selected as one of the top places to work in the federal government. The agency ranked third in the Best Places to Work rankings produced by the Partnership for Public Service and American University’s Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation (ISPPI), using data from a federal government survey administered by the Office of Personnel Management.
In this latest accolade, the SEC is being recognized for developing an outstanding pro bono program and recently organizing several pro bono events and initiatives, including a Pro Bono Fair, the Government Pro Bono Week 2006 Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon, and an Accountant’s Pro Bono Opportunity Program.
SEC employees have participated in a variety of pro bono activities to help low-income people experiencing difficult plights in the local community. For example, one SEC attorney represented a woman whose ex-husband was refusing to pay child support and then attempted to separate their two daughters by suing for custody of one of them. The SEC attorney negotiated an agreement that enabled the woman to maintain primary custody of both girls, and reached a child support agreement incorporating automatic garnishment of the father’s wages. Other SEC attorneys have assisted tenants who were being evicted from their homes without just cause before their leases had terminated. SEC attorneys also have participated in the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Advice and Referral Clinic, where they help provide legal advice and draft legal correspondence for those in need.
The SEC will receive the award during the Federal Government Pro Bono Recognition Reception, which will take place Oct. 25 at 5:30 p.m. at the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse in Washington, D.C. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Thomas Hogan and D.C. Circuit Chief Judge Doug Ginsburg will present the award.
The Interagency Pro Bono Working Group was established by a 1996 Executive Order for federal agencies to develop pro bono policies and programs that encourage their attorneys to engage in pro bono service. The Working Group assists federal agencies and organizes events throughout the year to encourage more government attorneys to participate in pro bono work.