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Hunton & Williams Continues its Role as a Community Servant; Firm is Dedicated to Serving the Less Fortunate Through Pro Bono Activities.

Business Editors


Hunton & Williams' longstanding commitment to community service is evident in the leadership of two senior attorneys in local pro bono organizations. Rita A. Sheffey, counsel to the firm and coordinator of the firm's Atlanta pro bono efforts, was named First Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Atlanta Legal Aid Society (ALAS). Sheffey also is in her second year as president of the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Board and is and active member of a number of other nonprofit boards of directors. In December 2003, she was named one of Georgia Trend's 2003 Legal Elite for Pro bono service. Sheffey's pro bono and community service efforts are on top of a busy litigation practice. In addition, her colleague, Matthew J. Calvert, a partner at the firm and chair of Hunton & Williams' Pro bono Committee, was also elected to the ALAS board. Calvert previously served on the board of directors for Central Virginia Legal Aid Society and the Virginia Poverty Law Center, Inc. in Richmond, Virginia.

Hunton & Williams encourages the Atlanta office attorneys to perform substantial pro bono legal services each year. In fact, Hunton & Williams has demonstrated this dedication for the past 9 years, meeting the American Bar Association's Pro bono Challenge by pledging 3% of its billable hours to pro bono work.

In 1995, Hunton & Williams demonstrated its dedication to serving those less fortunate in Atlanta, opening the doors to its Southside Legal Center in southwest Atlanta. This center serves area residents who qualify for federal legal aid, as well as those whose incomes are too large for legal aid yet too small to hire a private attorney. For a modest fee, which the firm donates to charity, the Southside Legal Center assists clients in a variety of areas ranging from adoptions to domestic violence to real estate closings.

Recently, Joann M. Yoon joined the firm's Atlanta office as Pro bono Fellow, a two-year position dedicated to providing legal services to those who otherwise may not have access to the justice system. She represents indigent clients through the Southside Legal Center.

Yoon also serves as guardian ad litem for alleged status offenders in the firm's guardian ad litem project with the Fulton County Juvenile Court. She is also handling cases referred by the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, the Latin American Association, and Catholic Social Services.

Hunton & Williams established the Atlanta Pro bono Fellowship in 2001 for an attorney whose time is entirely committed to pro bono work. The Fellowship is a valuable opportunity for young lawyers pursuing a career in public service.

Sheffey explained, "The Pro bono Fellowship represents the perfect hybrid between working in the private and public sectors. Joann has the opportunity to offer legal assistance to those in need, while benefiting from the mentorship available to attorneys who work in private practice."

During Yoon's Fellowship, the firm plans to increase the number of legal and community service organizations with whom it works to include the Center for Pan Asian Community Services, the Tapestri Coalition for victims of domestic violence and trafficking and Raksha, a center for women of South Asian descent.

"The fact that this position exists is a reflection of the serious commitment Hunton & Williams has made to further pro bono efforts within the law firm itself, and within the larger legal community. I am very excited to be a part of this team," said Yoon.

Prior to joining Hunton & Williams, Yoon worked for the Center for Pan Asian Community Services, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides holistic services to serve the Asian Pacific Islander (API) community in metro Atlanta. There, she served as program manager for the People's Law School for the Asian Community, educating members of the API community about their legal rights and responsibilities.

In addition, Yoon clerked for Life Span Legal Clinic, a domestic violence shelter in Chicago, Illinois; the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation; and volunteers at My House, a transitional home for babies with special needs in Atlanta. She received a B.S. from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and a J.D. from Emory University Law School.

Yoon joins a host of firm associates, who have been recognized for their leadership in helping the underserved. One such example is Amy Alcoke Quackenboss, who was just named an Outstanding Atlantan for her exemplary record of community involvement. She also received the State Bar of Georgia's 2003 H. Sol Clark Award honoring her dedication to extending legal services to the poor. She was the youngest person ever to receive this coveted honor.

At the same State Bar convention, both Alcoke and Hunton & Williams' first Atlanta pro bono fellow, Shelley Senterfitt, were presented the Young Lawyers Division's (YLD) Distinguished Service Award. The duo were honored for their exemplary work in co-chairing the YLD Community Service Committee.

Senterfitt, who preceded Yoon as Pro bono Fellow, was instrumental in starting a pilot project in the Fulton County Juvenile Court for lawyers to serve as public defenders of sexually exploited children. Following her two-year fellowship, Senterfitt spent several months as a special education advocate in the Fulton County Juvenile Court. In 2004, she expects to start her own non-profit, through which she will continue and expand representation of victims of domestic violence.

About Hunton & Williams

Founded in 1901, Hunton & Williams is a U.S. law firm with a significant international presence. More than 850 attorneys serve clients in 80 countries from 17 offices around the world.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 24, 2004
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