November 30, 2011

Baker & Daniels' Kathy Osborn, Sarah Jenkins Honored for Pro Bono Work

Kathy L. Osborn and Sarah C. Jenkins, both of Baker & Daniels LLP, have been named recipients of the 2011 Pro Bono Award for Attorney Aiding Individuals by the Indianapolis Bar Association.

Osborn, a partner in the firm's antitrust, appellate and business litigation practices, and Jenkins, a business litigation associate, were recognized for providing access to justice to underserved individuals. In its announcement, the IBA described Osborn and Jenkins' recent work on a guardianship case on behalf of a man with a mental health disability who was living in a homeless shelter when he first approached Baker & Daniels about legal representation.

In 2007, the man's guardian caused his home and personal belongings to be demolished against his wishes, without his consent and without notice. He then came to Baker & Daniels seeking legal assistance, and Osborn agreed to represent him on a pro bono basis. In the past four years, Osborn and Jenkins have spent almost 700 hours advocating for his rights through legal advocacy briefings, meetings and social service contacts. Other firm professionals have provided more than 300 additional hours of service.

Osborn and Jenkins litigated the client's case with a successful result from the Indiana Court of Appeals. According to the IBA's announcement, the appellate opinion "makes new law helping to govern the manner in which guardians perform their duties in Indiana and also breaks new ground on a national level with respect to the interpretation of due process rights of a person under a guardianship. It will benefit not only this client, but literally thousands of people similarly situated."

In addition to litigating the case, Osborn and Jenkins developed effective communication and representation strategies to facilitate the process of counseling a client with a mental health disability. The strategies they constructed and employed during this case have been the focus of various continuing legal education presentations on this topic.

Osborn and Jenkins were honored along with other award winners at the IBA's annual recognition luncheon on Nov. 29, 2011, at the Conrad Indianapolis. During the presentation, the IBA thanked Osborn and Jenkins for "their generosity of time and talent" and congratulated the pair on their success in this case.

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