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BCLP’s St. Louis office, in partnership with client Wells Fargo Advisors (WFA), is this year’s recipient of the Gerald R. Ortbals Law Practice Award from Legal Services of Eastern Missouri (LSEM), part of the 2021 For The Common Good Awards.

LSEM has provided free civil legal help for low-income families for 65 years. In 2020, nearly 30,000 people in 21 counties of eastern Missouri received services. LSEM’s annual For The Common Good Awards celebrate the achievements of St. Louis area volunteers and community partners who offer free legal aid to individual, families or for the benefit of the region. BCLP is one of nine local partners recognized this year.

“The very heart of Legal Services’ mission is to partner with the community to improve lives, promote fairness and create opportunity,” Dan Glazier, Legal Services’ executive director and general counsel, said in a release. “This annual event highlights collaborative work with community partners and volunteers to address the many challenges that families face, particularly during 2020.”

The Gerald R. Ortbals Award for pro bono legal work is named in honor of BCLP Attorney Gerald Ortbals for his pivotal role in getting law firms involved with the LSEM Volunteer Lawyers Program. Ortbals practices in the St. Louis office as a member of the Business & Commercial Disputes Group.

The award will be presented jointly to BCLP and Wells Fargo. Led by BCLP Partner Erin Brooks and Associate Lindsay Wuller Aggarwal, alongside Ashlin Mosby and Tanya Torgoley with the Wells Fargo legal department, this team has worked to develop a viable, meaningful pro bono project involving tandem-team attorneys representing clients in estate planning and housing cases. It’s anticipated that this St. Louis-based initiative will become a model Wells Fargo can adopt nationwide. LSEM noted that BCLP’s strong support “has been instrumental in helping move the project forward by working with Wells Fargo attorneys and taking the lead in difficult litigation matters.”

“The past year and a half, we’ve developed a pro bono partnership with WFA to build a program that identifies community needs that relate to WFA’s core business – particularly needs exacerbated by the pandemic,” Brooks said. “From this, we have focused on training for eviction and other landlord-tenet issues. Our work with WFA has been such a satisfying partnership, and we are excited to see how it continues to grow and develop.” 

“We were pleased to be able to work with long-standing client Wells Fargo in an important expansion of our existing client relationship,” St. Louis office Managing Partner Ryan Davis said. “Our firm believes in giving back to the communities we call home, which Wells Fargo also follows as a guiding principle.”

All of this year’s honorees will be recognized during an awards luncheon Aug. 27 at the Hyatt Regency in St. Louis. Due to current safety regulations, limited in-person seating is available, and the event also will be livestreamed.

This document provides a general summary and is for information/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be comprehensive, nor does it constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought before taking or refraining from taking any action.