Honors and Awards

Barry Abrams Named Pro Bono Attorney of the Year by Houston Volunteer Lawyers

Barry Abrams

Blank Rome LLP is pleased to announce that Barry Abrams, who serves as chair of Blank Rome’s Pro Bono Committee, was named Pro Bono Attorney of the Year by Houston Volunteer Lawyers (“HVL”), a nonprofit service of the Houston Bar Association, at a virtual celebratory awards ceremony held on Thursday, June 24, 2021.

Barry received this honor on behalf of his tremendous pro bono work involving a challenging child custody matter wherein a mother went to the Spring Branch Family Development Center—a general civil clinic in Houston, of which Barry serves as board president—seeking legal assistance in a divorce matter when her husband absconded with her daughter. The husband, a criminal who did not have parental custody rights, was hiding their daughter in various places throughout Houston (including the home of a registered sex offender) and keeping her out of school, necessitating the further involvement of local police. In collaboration with his Houston colleagues, paralegal Santiago Vallejo and professional assistant Isabel Campos, who assisted with Spanish translation services, and professional assistants Penny Johnson and Jayne Arend, Barry diligently worked to track down the husband and bring the daughter safely back home to her mother. He also successfully obtained a divorce, custody rights, and child support for his client, as well as an award of attorney’s fees for the benefit of HVL.

“We are incredibly proud of Barry for his work on this challenging pro bono custody matter, and in receiving this well-deserved honor,” stated Kathy E. Ochroch, Director of Blank Rome’s Pro Bono Services. “Barry exemplifies our firm’s dedicated commitment to advancing pro bono initiatives in our local communities through terrific organizations such as HVL, with whom Blank Rome partners on many cases, including evictions, guardianships, family law, and clinics for veterans. We look forward to continuing our pro bono collaboration with HVL and the many other legal clinics we engage with to ensure that everyone has access to legal representation.”

Founded in 1981 by the Houston Bar Association, HVL delivers free legal services to low-income residents of Harris County by linking qualified applicants with attorneys volunteering their time on a pro bono basis. HVL helps low-income citizens that cannot be served by other programs, such as those who may not meet the financial criteria of other legal assistance programs as well as non-U.S. citizens. Over 3,000 Harris County attorneys serve as HVL volunteers, each making a difference in the lives of low-income clients, their families, and communities. To learn more, please visit makejusticehappen.org.