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2020 Pro Bono Award Winners

In April of 2020, the West Virginia State Bar's Annual Dinner was not held in person due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, but the awards were still given to recipients across the state. This year, Legal Aid of WV presented two pro bono awards, one for a firm and one for a special group, based on their outstanding pro bono volunteering records.

This year, the two awards were given to, as pictured below, Bowles Rice, represented by Tom Heywood, and Don Tennant, on behalf of the Ohio County Bar Association.

2020 Law Firm Pro Bono Award

Bowles Rice - Charleston, WV

Bowles Rice Award 


Bowles Rice was founded in Charleston, WV in 1920 and has grown from three lawyers to 115 lawyers providing legal services to clients in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky and Virginia from seven regional offices. The Bowles Rice firm and its attorneys have routinely been recognized in publications including US News & World Report’s Best Law Firms, Chambers and Partners, The Best Lawyers in America© and Benchmark Litigation. The firm or its attorneys are members of the Network of Trial Law Firms, the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, American Bar Association, and The Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia, Claims and Litigation Management Alliance, and many other national and state-wide business organizations.

Statewide, fourteen Bowles attorneys donated over 50 hours to Legal Aid of West Virginia clients in 2019 including:

  • Volunteers in the Morgantown office represented domestic violence victims in Domestic Violence Protective Order hearings 
  • The Charleston office staffed the Lawyer in the School Program at Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary during October 2019
  • Parkersburg office attorneys supported Law Day in Parkersburg in May 2019 by providing advice to Legal Aid clients 
  • Firm attorneys have also taken cases for advice, brief service and representation

Legal Aid of West Virginia’s Pro Bono Law Firm award is presented to the law firm in West Virginia that has provided the most hours of pro bono representation to West Virginians during a given year. 

2020 Distinguished Pro Bono Service Award

 Ohio County Bar - Wheeling, WV

Don Tennant 

In 2019, the Ohio County Bar Association celebrated 30 years of unprecedented commitment to providing free legal help to low-income and vulnerable West Virginians. In 1989, the Ohio County Bar Association adopted a resolution to commit themselves to volunteering in Legal Aid offices on a weekly basis. Each Wednesday and Thursday members of the bar come to Legal Aid offices to provide advice, assistance and sometimes representation to Legal Aid clients. Because of this commitment, thousands of West Virginians have been helped in the 30 years since the bar adopted this resolution. Ohio County has the highest percentage of bar members participating in pro bono activities in West Virginia, and often has the highest number of pro bono attorneys providing representation out of all counties in West Virginia.  

Legal Aid of West Virginia’s Distinguished Pro Bono Service Award recognizes a lawyer or group whose pro bono efforts in a given year have gone “above and beyond” the call of duty and are deserving of special recognition.