LOS ANGELES (Oct. 8, 2013) — The State Bar of California has named Meeran Mahmud, staff attorney at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, as one of the recipients of its 2013 President’s Pro Bono Service Awards.
Presented at the bar association’s annual meeting, the awards “celebrate lawyers who go above and beyond to provide free legal services” to low-income people. Mahmud will receive the award in the “recently admitted (to practice law)” category.
“I am extremely honored to receive this award because helping others and fighting for justice has always been of paramount importance to me,” Mahmud said. “I would like to encourage others to participate in activities which serve the community so that together we can create a world where people have equal rights, access, and opportunities.”
Mahmud is being recognized for contributing more than 1,800 hours of service through the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Community Action Network. With the former, she assisted immigrant clients who’d survived domestic violence, torture, and human trafficking with their immigration cases. With the latter, she helped clients from Skid Row with housing and civil rights issues.
The pro bono service, all of which she provided in 2012, came at a time that was difficult for her personally: a recent law school graduate, she had difficulty finding employment. But instead of permitting anxieties about job insecurity to dominate her life, Mahmud dedicated herself to helping those in even greater need – while sharpening her skills as an advocate for poor people struggling with legal and other challenges.
This spirit of commitment to helping others and resourceful practicality are values that also drive the mission of her current organization, according to Karin Wang, vice president of programs and communications at Advancing Justice – LA.
“We are thrilled for Meeran and count ourselves lucky to have her on our staff,” Wang said. “Through our own pro bono program, we ourselves take the values of volunteer service seriously. It’s an honor for Advancing Justice – LA that one of our attorneys is being recognized for the very same qualities we seek in lawyers who volunteer with us.”
Now in its 30th year, the President’s Pro Bono Service Awards also recognize solo practitioners, those in limited active practice, attorneys employed by firms, by government, by a corporation, law school faculty, and law students. According to the California Bar, while its awardees work in different professional environments, “they all share one very key characteristic: the drive to help those struggling and less fortunate.”