2008 Pro Bono Award Recipient

November 25, Manchester, NH: The law firm of McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton, Professional Association is pleased to honor attorney Charla Bizios Stevens with the fourth annual Jack B. Middleton Pro Bono Legal Services Award for her outstanding commitment to serving New Hampshire’s poor and underprivileged citizens.

McLane, New Hampshire’s largest full-service law firm, with offices in Woburn, Massachusetts as well, created the award in support of its efforts to help ensure that all New Hampshire citizens, regardless of resources, have access to the justice system. Since the firm’s inception almost ninety years ago, McLane has been a consistent leader in supporting the state’s most vulnerable residents.

Ms. Stevens is an attorney in McLane’s Litigation Department focusing her practice on employment and domestic relations matters.

Jeremy Walker, a Litigation attorney who chairs McLane’s Pro Bono Committee, noted the following reasons for the committee’s choosing Ms. Stevens as this year’s honoree.

“Since Charla joined the firm in 2001,” Walker said, “she has consistently volunteered to handle pro bono custody and related domestic disputes.” For the past eight years, for instance, Ms. Stevens has represented a woman trying to retain custody of her young daughter in the face of her own emotional and physical limitations and multiple court challenges launched by the child’s father.

“When Charla sees a family in need, she does not turn her back.” Walker added. “She sets the bar very high for other attorneys, finding the time she needs to provide quality pro bono legal services simply because it is the right thing to do.”

“This is exactly the spirit in which the Jack B. Middleton Pro Bono Award was created,” explains Walker. “Jack embodies the best of what many of us in our profession aspire to be, and all of us who serve on the firm’s Pro Bono Committee are very proud to follow in his footsteps.”

Middleton, a senior partner was the first lawyer in private practice to be honored by the New Hampshire Bar Foundation with the Frank Rowe Kenison award for his exemplary work and substantial contributions to the betterment of New Hampshire’s citizens. An esteemed trial lawyer for fifty years, Middleton has also given tirelessly to a number of civic organizations, including holding board positions with the United Way, the Mt. Washington Observatory and New Hampshire Public Television.

Middleton was also among the pioneers of the IOLTA (“Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts”) program in New Hampshire. Under IOLTA, interest earned on certain funds held by attorneys are used by the New Hampshire Bar Foundation to fund legal services for the poor.