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December 14, 2006

The Angel Awards California State's Outstanding Pro Bono Lawyers
This is the inaugural issue of our Angel Awards, in which we honor California lawyers who demonstrate a fierce commitment to pro bono work. The awards this year recognize 16 attorneys throughout the state for a wide range of work -- from helping victims of domestic violence to protecting the rights of asylum seekers. These dedicated lawyers include sole practitioners and attorneys from small firms as well as from large international firms. The Angel Awards are our way of thanking them for their service. -- The editors of California Lawyer

Fariba R. Soroosh Family law facilitator, Santa Clara County Superior Court Two and a half years ago Soroosh, a longtime volunteer at Pro Bono Project Silicon Valley, came up with the idea to create a program that helps low-income pro per petitioners and respondents obtain or challenge permanent restraining orders. A few months later Saffren joined the organizing committee, and together with Pro Bono Project they planned, designed, and then tested the Domestic Violence Limited Scope Representation project before it was implemented in January 2006. Saffren, Soroosh, and John Hedges, the executive director of Pro Bono Project, conferred with family court judicial officers, advocacy attorneys, and child-protection agencies to ensure that the plan addressed their concerns. Both women helped conduct training for volunteer attorneys and certified law students, who now number more than 40. "This program has become a model in California, and we are getting interest from other states," says Soroosh. "It's been so successful, I'm thinking we should expand into other areas of family law." -- kelly niknejad


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