Volunteer Receives 2018 Adams Pro Bono Publico Award


At a ceremony at the John Adams Courthouse on October 18, longtime De Novo volunteer attorney John Taylor Hand was honored with the 2018 Adams Pro Bono Publico Award. John was among three Massachusetts attorneys and a recent law school graduate recognized by the Supreme Judicial Court’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services for their outstanding commitment to providing pro bono legal assistance for those in need.

“John has dedicated his life to fighting for equal justice,” says Mojdeh Rohani, De Novo executive director. “John’s tireless and compassionate advocacy on behalf of his clients, many who have suffered severe trauma, including torture, has quite literally saved lives.”

Volunteers have on four occasions received Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards for their work with CLSACC clients. Others include Elizabeth L. Ennen (2015) and Susan Corcoran (2012), both pictured above, and Andrew P. Cornell (2009).

The Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards are presented annually to honor Massachusetts lawyers, law students, law firms, government attorney offices, corporate law departments, law schools or other institutions that have improved the lives of clients in need by committing an extraordinary amount of their time and energies to provide volunteer legal services.

John Hand – who first came to De Novo as a volunteer in 2005 – was honored for over twenty years of sustained and effective pro bono legal work on immigration cases, including more than 5,000 hours of advocacy on behalf of asylum seekers requesting refuge in the U.S. from political violence and oppression in their home countries. As testament to the quality of his work and dedication, every single one of John’s clients whose case has been heard has been granted asylum.

John brings to his pro bono work expertise and wisdom developed over three decades as one of the country’s earliest legal services attorneys. He was Litigation Director at Westchester Legal Services and since 1996 has done pro bono work in post-conviction death penalty cases and in political asylum cases. John has a depth of cross-cultural knowledge and understanding of particular value to his many African clients. He is president and a co-leader of Intercultural Dimensions, Inc., which promotes cross-cultural knowledge and understanding through workshops, seminars and travel, focusing on Senegal, West Africa, where he and his wife both served as Peace Corps Volunteers.