Fulbright & Jaworski Receives National Pro Bono Award from American Bar Association Section of Taxation

The American Bar Association Section of Taxation presented its annual Janet Spragens Pro Bono Award to international law firm Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. during a luncheon held January 22 at the section’s 2011 Midyear Meeting in Boca Raton, Fla.

The Janet Spragens Pro Bono Award, named after the late American University Law professor who greatly contributed to ensuring representation for low-income taxpayers, is presented each year to an individual lawyer or law firm that has demonstrated outstanding and sustained commitment to pro bono (free) legal services, particularly with respect to federal and state tax law.

“Fulbright & Jaworski sets the standard for pro bono work in the tax area,” said Charles H. Egerton, Tax Section chair. “The firm supports broad pro bono tax assistance to unrepresented taxpayers and has provided assistance to those who would otherwise have few alternatives,” he said. “Fulbright’s pro bono work is a model for other law firms to replicate, and is a testament to their commitment and dedication to helping taxpayers,” said Egerton.

Fulbright provides support for the U.S. Tax Court Pro Bono Programs in Texas and New York. The program encourages lawyers to offer pro bono consultation services to unrepresented or pro se, taxpayers at calendar calls. Lawyer volunteers mediate disputes between the IRS and Tax Court petitioners. A number of Fulbright & Jaworski’s tax attorneys have participated in the programs sponsored by the State Bar of Texas and the New York County Lawyer’s Association.

Fulbright tax attorneys have participated in various pro bono tax programs such as a program sponsored by the Houston Bar Association, which provides planning documents for members of the armed forces who are to be deployed to Afghanistan, and Low Income Taxpayer Clinic programs sponsored by local bar associations. Fulbright tax attorneys donate their time as board members and provide free advice to many nonprofit organizations.

Fulbright was recognized in The Best Law Firms in America 2010, and Best Lawyers 2010 listed Fulbright as one of the leading firms in the nation in tax law. For the fourth consecutive year, the Chambers Global Guide recognized Fulbright for its work in corporate tax in the United States (2010).

“Many pro se petitioners in the Tax Court are unfamiliar with court procedures. Tax Court Pro Bono Program volunteers provide unrepresented taxpayers with legal advice and help petitioners navigate Tax Court process,” said Chief Judge John Colvin of the U.S. Tax Court. As a result, pro bono attorneys assist in improving the judicial system and access to justice.

The Tax Court has actively encouraged clinical and pro bono programs to assist pro se petitioners. Fulbright’s assistance to unrepresented taxpayers contributes to the success of Tax Court Pro Bono Programs. The ABA Section of Taxation is assisting interested state and local bar associations in setting up programs similar to the one in Texas and New York.

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