SCBA Recognizes Norman Hile’s Pro Bono Service
by Jeffrey Galvin
A large and lively crowd gathered at the SCBA Events Center on October 25th for the “Party for a Cause and Celebration of Pro Bono.” The event began with a welcome from SCBA President Sil Reggiardo, who was the driving force behind the creation of the Pro Bono Committee several years ago. Reggiardo also has led by example in that, for many years, he has offered estate planning assistance on a pro bono basis through the Voluntary Legal Services Program.
David De Alba, Presiding Judge of the Sacramento Superior Court, offered remarks on the importance of access to justice, noting that many members of this community cannot afford counsel, as illustrated by the high percentage of pro per litigants in family court. Judge De Alba gave thanks to the many attorneys who have stepped up to volunteer, including as judges pro tem. Judge De Alba also recognized the leadership of Judge Steven Gevercer in working with the Voluntary Legal Services Program to create a probate and guardianship panel that relies on volunteer attorneys.
Daniel Kim, a member of the Pro Bono Committee, presented the SCBA Pro Bono Award to Norman Hile. Kim provided an overview of Hile’s history of service, beginning with his service in the Army during the Vietnam War and continuing for 45 years as a lawyer with Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe. Over the decades, Hile has worked on a myriad of pro bono projects, particularly those serving military veterans and ex-convicts, and has mentored many Orrick attorneys along the way. Over about the last 15 years, Hile has advocated for death row inmate Kevin Cooper, volunteering over 5,000 hours on that matter alone. Now mostly retired, Hile continues to work on the Cooper case.
Hile reflected on the importance of pro bono service throughout his career. He recognized The Innocence Project, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, and the many individuals with whom he has collaborated on the Cooper case. He spoke passionately in favor of using DNA evidence in connection with reviewing convictions, as well as solving cold cases, to ensure that justice is done.
Next up was Ed Brooks, President of the Sacramento County Bar Foundation. Brooks presented Access to Justice Scholarships from the Foundation to two UC Davis Law third-year students: Emily Child and Dana Sever Scott.
Steve Duvernay, Vice President of the Foundation, presented three grants. Representatives of the Natomas Pacific Pathways High School Mock Trial Team received one award. The Sacramento Justice League and the Center for Workers’ Rights received the other awards.
Thanks to the 12 Pro Bono Committee members for their contributions. Thanks also to Mary Burroughs and the SCBA staff for supporting the festive event, and to the 14 event sponsors: Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, Downey Brand, Gavrilov & Brooks, Hanson Bridgett, Weintraub Tobin, Briscoe Economics Group, Carter & West, Cook Brown, Danielson Kim Law Group, Gilbert Associates, Inc., Law Office of Jill Telfer, Murphy Austin Adams Schoenfeld, Thomas Law Group, and the Voluntary Legal Services Program.