The Illinois State Bar Association awarded the Madison County Bar Association and a Granite City attorney the 2015 John C. McAndrews Pro Bono Service Award.
The award ceremony took place at the Illinois State Bar Association’s 139th Annual Meeting on June 19 at the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva, Wis.
Tanja M. Cook, partner at the Lueders, Robertson & Konzen law firm in Granite City, received an award from the Illinois State Bar Association for her service to the community.
Cook was recognized for providing pro bono legal assistance through the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation and the Madison County Bar Association. She has helped with cases ranging from real estate transactions, guardianships and estate planning.
She also serves as a court-appointed pro bono guardian ad litem and provides legal advice through the Madison County Legal Advice desk.
Additionally, she provides fee legal services to several local charities and assistance to the Veterans’ Commission to transfer donated cemetery plots to eligible veterans’ families.
Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder, chairwoman of the Third Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee, nominated Cook for the award.
“What is so remarkable about Ms. Cook is how naturally she engages in pro bono and eagerly assists anyone who lacks financial resources,” Crowder wrote.
The Madison County Bar Association (MCBA), headquartered in Edwardsville, also received a pro bono award.
MCBA was recognized for its delivery and reinforcement of pro bono legal services to low-income members of the community.
In 2014 alone, MCBA handled 86 cases for low-income individuals who were clients of the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation. The cases ranged from housing to divorce and custody disputes.
Additionally, MCBA sponsored a three-week opportunity for 15 high school students to intern at local law firms last summer.
It also developed free monthly MCLE programs on topics related to volunteering to encourage more local lawyers to offer pro bono services.
In 2014, the MCBA also supported People’s Law School forums, staffed a Legal Advice Conference Center in the Madison County courthouse two days per month, staffed a legal information table at a local Veterans Fair and invited veterans to attend two days of free legal appointments at the Madison County Courthouse in honor of Veterans Day.
The awards are named in memory of Rock Island attorney John McAndrews, who chaired the ISBA Committee on Delivery of Legal Services. McAndrews received a Harry A. Blackmun Pro Bono Publico Award from Prairie State Legal Services before he died in 1993.