SAN FRANCISCO [July 30, 2009] - Morrison & Foerster Partner Gordon Erspamer will be honored by the American Bar Association (ABA) with the 2009 Pro Bono Publico Award for his efforts on behalf of disabled veterans and veterans' groups. ABA President H. Thomas Wells, Jr. will present Mr. Erspamer with this award on August 3, 2009 at the Pro Bono Publico Awards Assembly Luncheon, during the ABA's Annual Meeting in Chicago.
The Pro Bono Publico Award is given to select individuals and institutions in the legal community that have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to providing free legal services to the poor or disadvantaged. As a tireless advocate for veterans' rights for almost 30 years, Mr. Erspamer's pro bono work on their behalf has included representation of soldiers who were unaware they had been used as human guinea pigs in open-air testing of atomic bombs in the 1950s and 1960s, only to learn of this when they began having health problems later in life. He has also brought public attention to the valid impacts of post-traumatic stress syndrome by veterans of the Korean Conflict, Vietnam War, and the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Morrison & Foerster Chair Keith Wetmore said, "If anyone deserves this prestigious award, it's Gordy. The firm is very proud of all that he has done for our disabled veterans, and we share in his commitment to continued pro bono work for the disenfranchised."
Mr. Erspamer has served on the board of directors of the Contra Costa County Bar Association, where he was a member of the Pro Bono Committee and chair of the Judicial Evaluations Committee. He currently serves on the board of directors of Swords to Plowshares, a leading nonprofit veterans' advocacy group, which has honored him with their Profiles of Courage Award. In addition, he has received the Dean K. Phillips Award for Advocacy from the Vietnam Veterans Association and the Justice Award from the National Association of Radiation Survivors, and was named Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Trial Lawyers for Public Justice.
For Mr. Erspamer's personal statement on this honor, please visit: http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/probono/pbp_awards/erspamer_statement.pdf
For more information on the recipients, please visit: http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/probono/pbp_current_recipients.html.