William Askey 2004 Award Remarks

A law association member once asked, when called for a referral, how long do I have to do this pro bono thing?

The law association has been participating in the legal services referral program for almost 20 years. Your profession has been doing pro bono-organized and unorganized since the inception of the profession. This year’s recipient of the Equal Access to Justice award has demonstrated a lifetime steadfast commitment to this tenant of his profession.

Over the years the “free” aspect of pro bono seems to be the emphasis–when actually the term means “for good.” Doing good for those that can’t pay for legal services is what the purpose of the referral program is about.

Some members of the bar have practices that naturally lend themselves to the type of work done at legal services, some attorneys are willing to train in areas they don’t usually practice within to participate and unfortunately some chose not to do either.

This year’s recipient was one of the first to contact legal services when the call when out for help and the bar issued its mandate. He explained what his practice included and offered to explore ways that he could contribute his skills. Well each and every year since the program began he has been contributing his skills by taking cases for clients of legal services who have problems within his scope of expertise.

When we had a contract with AIDS resource he was there to help with wills and powers of attorneys for AIDS victims, he helps SSI recipients who have issues with resources and income from deceased family members, While our clients don’t have assets or savings they often have issues that impact them arising out of estate and trust work and this attorney has been an invaluable resource to us and to them. Last year he was honored for over 50 years in the profession. During that time he has never tired of his commitment to insure that all people have access to justice despite their income status. If we haven’t sent him a case with in the year he calls to remind us that he is due.

This year’s recipient apparently believes that he “has to do this “pro bono thing” for as longs as he does” this lawyer thing.”

This year’s recipient of the Lycoming Law Associations Equal Access to Justice Award is William H Askey.




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