Allegheny County Bar Foundation to Honor Six Individuals, One Law Firm with 2016 Pro Bono Achievement Awards

Allegheny County Bar FoundationThrough its 2016 Pro Bono Achievement Awards, the Allegheny County Bar Foundation will recognize six individuals and one law firm dedicated to the cause of providing free legal service to those in need. The awards will be presented at the ACBF’s Fellows Reception, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 20 at the Hotel Monaco in downtown Pittsburgh.

Each year, the ACBF recognizes individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to providing free legal services to individuals facing critical legal issues who are not able to afford an attorney.

Following are this year’s winners:

Lifetime Pro Bono Service Award:  Paul H. Titus – Titus, a resident of Pittsburgh’s East End, is counsel at the law firm of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP. In addition to his distinguished career as a trial and appellate attorney handling complex business matters, he has worked tirelessly to assist individuals with low incomes and underserved communities. Additionally, Titus works to vindicate the rights of people wrongly convicted, excluded or condemned to death.

Jane F. Hepting Individual Attorney Award:  Beth A. Dodson – In addition to her work as an attorney at BNY Mellon, Dodson works tirelessly to create pro bono and community education projects. A native of Summit Hill, Pa. and current resident of Pittsburgh’s Spring Hill neighborhood, Dodson frequently recruits and trains her colleagues to provide free legal services, while also handling many cases herself.

Lorraine M. Bittner Public Interest Attorney Award:  Barbara L. Clements – As Pro Se Coordinator for the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Family Division, Clements guides thousands of self-represented litigants through the family court system every year. Clements, an O’Hara Township resident, works with the court’s Self-Help Center and with the family law clinics operated by the Pitt and Duquesne law schools to obtain the appropriate help for people who cannot afford attorneys.

Law Firm Award:  Stoll Keenon Ogden – The downtown Pittsburgh law firm of Stoll Keenon Ogden pioneered a pro bono project that handles “tangled title” real estate cases. The program is designed for low income home owners who need to get property into their names in order to preserve the equity in their homes.

Young Lawyer Award:  Katherine Leech Vollen – Although she is a relatively new attorney, Vollen – an attorney with Humphrey, Vollen & Anderson, LLC – has devoted a substantial part of her career to representing individuals for free. Specifically, the Monroeville native takes on family law cases when the clients cannot afford legal services.

Legal Assistant Award:  Miranda J. Settlemeyer – Miranda Settlemeyer is a Legal Assistant at the law firm of Meyer Unkovic & Scott. By providing substantial administrative support to a pro bono program that represents families in custody cases when they cannot afford legal help, Settlemeyer, an Altoona, Pa. native and current Baldwin resident, exemplifies the important role that non-attorneys have in providing free legal services.

Law Student Award:  Jason E. Piatt – While a student at the Duquesne University School of Law, Piatt, a Bradford, Pa. native and current East End resident, volunteered his time both in the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office and for Judge R. Stanton Wettick in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, demonstrating a commitment to public service and the rights of all Pennsylvanians.

The award winners will also be recognized during national Pro Bono Week, Oct. 23-29. Pro Bono Week is a national celebration of the life-changing work that volunteer attorneys perform on behalf of low-income clients across the country. The ACBF Pro Bono Center will celebrate the week with a variety of events as we thank volunteers, recruit and train additional volunteers, and bring attention to the needs of individuals facing critical legal issues.

Additional Award Information:

The Jane F. Hepting Individual Attorney Award is given to an attorney who has shown exemplary
commitment to or made substantial achievements in pro bono legal services. The ACBF Board of Trustees adopted a resolution in 2002 to name this award in recognition of Jane Hepting’s dedication to the delivery of pro bono legal services through her 26 years as an Neighborhood Legal Services Association attorney, the many and varied pro bono programs that she helped create and implement, her recruitment initiatives and exceptional training programs to attract and prepare volunteer attorneys, her exceptional expenditures of time and energy on behalf of pro bono legal services, and her outstanding commitment and dedication to public service, the legal profession and the community.

The Lorraine M. Bittner Public Interest Attorney Award is given to an outstanding and dedicated attorney who is employed by an entity or program whose primary function is the delivery of civil legal services to low income individuals or organizations that serve the poor or disadvantaged. The award is named in honor of the first attorney to receive it when it was established in 2005, in honor of her exceptional and career-long commitment to the needs of the poor and disadvantaged through her work at Neighborhood Legal Services Association and the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh.

About the ACBF

The ACBF provides educational programming, promotes public awareness of the legal and judicial systems, renders legal services to low-income clients and provides financial assistance and grants to legal-related organizations. The foundation’s Pro Bono Center helps attorneys fulfill their professional responsibility to provide public interest legal services by creating, managing, and supporting programs that match volunteer attorneys with low-income individuals facing legal issues that threaten their basic human needs. For more information, visit

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