Posted in: Lawyers › Pro Bono Program, Awards
The SC Bar honored the 2017 Pro Bono Award winners on May 24 at the House of Delegates meeting in Isle of Palms. Megan Hunt Dell of Dell Family Law in Charleston was named the Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year, and Murphy & Grantland, PA in Columbia was named the Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year.
SC Bar Pro Bono Awards are presented annually to a lawyer and/or law firm that has demonstrated outstanding commitment to volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged. These services ensure that representation is provided to individuals and families in need of free civil legal assistance.
Megan Hunt Dell, 2017 Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year
Megan Hunt Dell, a 2010 graduate of the Charleston School of Law, was named the Pro Bono Attorney of the Year for her multifaceted pro bono work in the Lowcountry.
Dell gives freely of her time to the public by representing low-income litigants, advocating for underserved populations and volunteering through non-profit organizations like Charleston Pro Bono. Even as a law student, Dell dedicated her free time to pro bono work, volunteering 184.5 hours of free legal service, predominately with the Federal Public Defender and as a volunteer SC Guardian ad Litem (GAL).
Charleston Pro Bono’s HALOS program is a support organization for caregivers of abused and neglected children. Dell has led panel discussions and resource fairs for HALOS and their clients, coordinating resources for these kinship caregivers.
Nicole Paluzzi of Charleston Pro Bono thanked Dell, noting that her work with HALOS provides support for a segment of the population that is traditionally without a voice.
“Her altruism and legal skill set her in her own league. We are fortunate that such a dedicated attorney is willing to share her talents with low-income litigants in Charleston County,” said Paluzzi.
Dell gives back to the legal profession by teaching CLEs through the SC Bar, Charleston Women Lawyers and Charleston GALs. She also leads classes necessary for volunteers to become trained GALs in DSS removal actions, thereby providing service to at-risk children.
“Some people can ‘do’ and some people can ‘teach,’” said Paluzzi. “Megan can do both, and we all benefit from that.”
In honor of Dell’s pro bono service, the South Carolina Bar will donate $500 to the HALOS program.
Murphy & Grantland, PA, 2017 Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year
Murphy & Grantland, PA (M&G) was named the Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year for the firm’s culture of public service and its commitment to assisting victims of human trafficking.
Since 2015, M&G attorneys and staff have provided pro bono legal services to more than 25 survivors of human trafficking who may not otherwise have had access to their rights.
To better equip their colleagues to take on sex trafficking cases, attorneys at M&G conducted trainings for Bar members. Then in 2017, attorney Elliott Daniels co-founded Legal Assistance for Survivors of Trafficking – SC (LAST), a statewide network of 30 pro bono attorneys that can assist victims. So far, LAST has assisted 28 individuals.
Kathryn A. Moorehead, coordinator of the SC Human Trafficking Task Force said, “Our statewide anti-human trafficking efforts are better because of the pro bono commitment made by Murphy and Grantland.”
In honor of M&G’s pro bono work, the South Carolina Bar will donate $500 in M&G’s name to Lighthouse for Life, a Midlands-based nonprofit that provides refuge for survivors of human trafficking.