The Guardian of Justice Award is given each year in recognition of volunteers whose efforts are steeped in a commitment to justice for all the children, families and seniors in our community.

Commitment to the community is an important part of the culture at Cooley, where the attorneys strive to give generously of their time, talents, and resources to the communities in which they practice. Partner Maureen Alger, who manages the firm's pro bono practice, notes, "We are committed to applying our skills, resources, and innovative approach to the law on behalf of pro bono clients locally and around the world."

Cooley attorneys help clients overcome obstacles that appear insurmountable without legal assistance, never hesitating to dive in to help a low-income individual in need. Pro bono matters Cooley has accepted from Legal Aid include guardianships, conservatorships, domestic violence restraining orders, and elder abuse cases.

Over the last year and through the pandemic, Cooley has continued to support Legal Aid clients. Recently, Cooley represented the parents of a young man in their request for a limited conservatorship due to his disability. A team of attorneys from Cooley helped clients through the often overwhelming process of obtaining a conservatorship, which will provide stability and protection for their son while allowing him the ability to be as independent as possible. Cooley also provided housing assistance during the pandemic, staffing a virtual clinic to provide limited-scope advice to Legal Aid clients in danger of losing their housing. Additionally, Legal Aid and Cooley have a long history of collaborating to assist domestic violence survivors. For example, Cooley represented a young teen whose boyfriend became abusive after convincing her to drop out of school and run away with him. Cooley attorneys were able to get an agreement for a restraining order at trial so that their young client could feel safe and begin to heal without having to take the stand against her abuser.

Cooley is a long-time member of Legal Aid SMC's Pro Bono Advisory Committee and has partnered in the development of MCLE-approved training sessions and educational materials so that volunteer attorneys can successfully represent low-income clients in unfamiliar areas of practice.

Congratulations to everyone at Cooley.