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SEPT. 14, 2020 – Joanna Plichta Boisen, chief pro bono and social impact officer at Davis Wright Tremaine, has been named an APEX Pro Bono and Public Service Award winner for 2020 by the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA).
The annual award honors exemplary members of the legal community for outstanding efforts in providing pro bono services and for giving back in meaningful ways to the public and/or the profession.
"As a child of low-income immigrants, I understand firsthand the importance of pro bono, and as a law firm lawyer, I appreciate the tremendous impact the private bar can have on bringing access to justice to in-need, at-risk communities," said Ms. Boisen. "I'm incredibly grateful to the WSBA for honoring me with this recognition and indebted to the leadership at Davis Wright Tremaine for making access to justice a top priority and allowing me to do what I love most and do best, coast to coast."
"Pro bono work improves our communities, enhances our skills, and provides a valuable opportunity to partner with clients," said Jeff Gray, firmwide managing partner at Davis Wright Tremaine. "Since Joanna joined the firm in January 2019, she has elevated our ability to do all three. We're delighted to see her career-long efforts recognized by the Washington legal community."
Among the many initiatives recognized by the WSBA was Ms. Boisen's spearheading of a Pro Bono In-House Summit at Davis Wright Tremaine last year. The summit helped educate in-house lawyers on ways to structure and scale pro bono programs and give their legal departments opportunities for meaningful, impactful community work. Well over 100 in-house counsel from major companies across the country attended the event, in person and by video. Davis Wright has since assisted almost 40 clients and companies in strengthening their in-house pro bono programs.
Ms. Boisen's many other career accomplishments include launching the renowned Domestic Violence Advocacy Project (helping survivors and their children secure protection orders) and bringing the Holocaust Survivor Reparations Project to Seattle. She was the first pro bono counsel and then pro bono partner at Foster Pepper PLLC (now Foster Garvey PC). Ms. Boisen also created the first-ever Pro Bono Counsel position for Davis Wright Tremaine and was recently promoted to her current officer title, another first for the firm.
Ms. Boisen's many current roles include serving as president of the Federal Bar Association, president of the Campaign for Equal Justice, and chair of the Seattle Area Pro Bono Counsels and Coordinators group. In the latter role, she leads meetings and initiatives that help law firms and legal service providers work together on COVID-related pro bono and race, equity, and justice initiatives.
Her many ongoing projects include creation of a Children’s Right Summit, in partnership with the Center for Child and Youth Justice, Team Child, Mockingbird Society, Treehouse, Legal Counsel for Children and Youth, and the Association of Corporate Counsel. She is also spearheading an In-House Pro Bono Summit, which will be held November 5.
About Davis Wright Tremaine
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP is an AmLaw 100 law firm with more than 550 lawyers representing clients based throughout the United States and around the world. To learn more, go to https://www.dwt.com/about/pro-bono.