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Access to Justice Award recipients announced by ABLE

Recipients of the 2011 Access to Justice Awards will receive their awards at the annual Access to Justice Awards dinner scheduled for Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at The Pinnacle in Maumee, Ohio. The Access to Justice Awards recognizes outstanding service in the public interest by attorneys, organizations, and community advocates in northwest Ohio. 

Presenters of the awards are the Toledo Bar (TBA) Association Pro Bon Legal Services Program, Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. (ABLE), and Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc. (LAWO).

 The 2011 Award Recipients are:
Billie Johnson, recipient of a Community Advocacy Award, best known for her service as founder and current President/CEO of the Area Office on Aging of Northwestern Ohio, Inc. (AOoA).

Billie Johnson

Elizabeth S. Ruppert, MD is also a recipient of the Community Advocacy Award for her long-time work on behalf of vulnerable and disadvantaged children in the community.

• Attorney Paul T. Belazis is recognized with a Public Interest Law Award for lending his legal expertise to minorities, minority organizations and the Toledo Fair Housing Center.

In addition, attorney Laurie J. Pangle will receive a Distinguished Service Award in recognition of her significant leadership and contributions toward equal access to justice and her support of the mission and services provided by ABLE, LAWO, and the TBA Pro Bono Legal Services Program. Award candidates were nominated by local organizations or individuals, and the winners were chosen by a selection committee of area leaders in the legal community. 

Elizabeth S. Ruppert, MD

Award recipients will be honored at the Access to Justice Awards dinner featuring keynote speaker Patricia J. Williams, legal scholar, and author. As a champion of civil rights and social justice, Ms. Williams writes the monthly column “Dairy of a Mad Law Professor” for the Nation magazine. Her wry, witty columns cover a variety of social justice issues.

Before entering academia, Williams practiced law as a consumer advocate and Deputy City Attorney for the city of Los Angeles, and as a staff attorney for the Western Center on Law and Poverty. She is currently the James L. Dohr Professor of Law at Columbia University School of Law.

Williams is the recipient of the Alumnae Achievement Award from Wellesley, the Graduate Society Medal from Harvard, and the MacArthur foundation “genius grant.” She has authored several books including:

Paul T. Belazis

 The Alchemy of Race and Rights, which was named one of the 25 best books of 1991 by the Voice Literary Supplement and one of the “feminist classics of the last 20 years” that “literally changed women's lives” by Ms. Magazine’s 20th Anniversary Edition.

Her articles for both scholarly journals and popular magazines including USA Today, Harvard Law Review, The New York Times Book Review, The Nation, Ms. Magazine, and The Village Voice. Her most recent book Open House of Family, Friends, Food, Piano Lessons, and the Search for a Room of My Own combines her memoir and essays together.

Proceeds from the 2011 Access to Justice Awards Dinner help LAWO, ABLE and the TBA Pro Bono Legal Services Program provide free civil legal services to low-income people in northwest Ohio. Ticket information is available by calling (419) 255-0814.


Laurie J. Pangle

Keynote speaker Patricia J. Williams





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Revised: 10/12/11 20:46:14 -0700.





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