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Christina Brown, a lawyer with O’Melveny & Myers LLP, has received one of the State Bar of California’s eight 2010 President’s Pro Bono Service Awards for contributing hundreds of hours of pro bono legal work in 2009 through the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. 

“We are honored to have the opportunity to partner with a volunteer attorney like Christina Brown, who has such a deep commitment to serving those in need,” said Lateefah Simon, Lawyers’ Committee’s executive director.  “Christina’s advocacy is truly exceptional, marked by vigorous defense, innovative lawyering, and a profound commitment to the client and pursuit of justice.”

Brown, an associate and member of  the White Collar Defense and Antitrust and Competition Practices in O’Melveny’s  San Francisco office, primarily helped advocate on behalf of San Francisco’s homeless residents who were charged with “quality of life” violations such as sleeping or sitting in public. Over the course of one year, she handled nearly 200 cases and made 30 court appearances, vigorously defending her clients by arguing for dismissals and fine suspensions, taking cases to trial, negotiating alternative sentences for clients to perform community service rather than paying monetary fines, and filing appeals. In all of these cases, Brown represented homeless individuals who were living on the street, in shelters, or in other temporary housing. In July 2009, she also successfully obtained asylum for a client who fled ethnic and political persecution in Guatemala after witnessing the massacre of his parents and two brothers by Guatemalan soldiers. 

"I am grateful to the Lawyers' Committee and O'Melveny for the opportunity to do this important work,” said Brown. “It is rewarding to see legal barriers removed and our clients increasingly able to access permanent supportive housing and other services aimed at helping them exit homelessness."

Brown serves on O’Melveny’s Pro Bono Committee, encouraging others to engage in pro bono activities. She will be presented with the award at the 2010 State Bar Annual Meeting in Monterey, California, on September 24, 2010. California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald George and State Bar President Howard Miller will be participating in the awards presentation.

The State Bar of California’s President's Pro Bono Service Awards were established in 1983 by the State Bar Board of Governors. The awards recognize California lawyers, law firms, teams of lawyers, associations of lawyers, law schools, or law students who have provided or enabled the direct provision of legal services to poor persons or to organizations whose primary purpose is to provide legal services to the poor, free-of-charge, without expectation of compensation from the client. The awards were expanded in late 2009 to include law schools. For more information on this year’s awardees, please visit www.calbar.ca.gov.

About O’Melveny & Myers LLP:

With approximately 900 lawyers in 14 offices worldwide, O’Melveny & Myers LLP helps industry leaders across a broad array of sectors manage the complex challenges of succeeding in the global economy. We are a values-driven law firm, guided by the principles of excellence, leadership, and citizenship. Our commitment to these values is reflected in our dedication to improving access to justice through pro bono work and championing initiatives that increase the diversity of the legal profession. For more information, please visit www.omm.com

About the Lawyers’ Committee:

For more than 40 years, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area has championed the legal rights of people of color, poor people, immigrants and refugees, with a special commitment to African-Americans. Lawyers' Committee staff, working with hundreds of pro bono attorneys, provides free legal assistance and representation to individuals on civil legal matters through direct services, impact litigation and policy advocacy. In 2009, the Lawyers' Committee mobilized nearly 1,000 pro bono attorneys who contributed more than 42,000 hours of free legal assistance, services valued at almost $17 million. For more information, visit www.lccr.com.


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