Allison Mendel Receives Attorney General’s Award for Pro Bono Service
October 3, 2017 (Anchorage, AK) – Deputy Attorney General Ed Sniffen presented the eighth annual Attorney General’s Award for Pro Bono Service to Allison Mendel yesterday at a ceremony celebrating the fortieth anniversary of AWAIC (Abused Women’s Aid in Crisis) and marking the start of Domestic Violence Action Month.
“Allison Mendel’s long history of public service, both as an attorney for Alaska Legal Services and while in private practice, reflects her belief that Alaskans have a responsibility to work together to address challenges that domestic violence presents in our communities, and her understanding of the role attorneys can play in addressing those challenges,” stated Deputy Attorney General Sniffen. “We know that providing legal services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault is the most effective means of ending violence in their lives. Volunteers like Allison Mendel play a critical role in helping survivors escape the cycle of violence, and I commend her on her service.”
In explaining her commitment to helping survivors of domestic violence, Mendel emphasized the vital role that attorneys play: “Victims are helped greatly by having legal representation. Your presence in the room will transform the experience of the client. If a lawyer shows up in court for you, it changes the dynamic completely. It’s extremely valuable and empowering for the client–and very satisfying for the attorney.”
Since coming to Alaska in 1982, Mendel worked for Alaska Legal Services for several years before going into private practice in 1987. Christine Pate, director of the Legal Program at the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (ANDVSA), highlighted Mendel’s consistent dedication to pro bono work: “Allison has always made pro bono service a part of her firm’s culture, encouraging associates to have a pro bono case at all times and leading by example.” Since 2000, Mendel has personally represented 13 clients in pro bono cases through ANDVSA; her firm has handled a total of 45 pro bono cases since that time.
Mendel’s public service is not limited to representing survivors of domestic violence. She has served two terms on the Alaska Bar Board of Governors, including one term as Vice President, and has also served on the Committee of Bar Examiners, Fee Arbitration, and the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection Committee. She was formerly co-chair of the National Lesbian and Gay Law Association (now the National LGBT Bar Association).
If you’re an attorney interested in donating legal help to domestic violence survivors, please contact Christine Pate at the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (907-747-2673; firstname.lastname@example.org) or Laura Goss at the Alaska Legal Services Corporation (907-272-9431; email@example.com).