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Attorneys Leading the Way

Deborah Tharnish awarded the Iowa State Bar Association 2015 Rolland Grefe Pro Bono Publico Award - June 18, 2015

At the Iowa State Bar Association’s Awards Gala, Davis Brown senior shareholder Deborah Tharnish received the 2015 Rolland Grefe Pro Bono Publico award for her commitment to pro bono work and public service.


Deb inspires the attorneys and community around her through her leadership, legal expertise, mentoring and community service work.  In a letter of support of her nomination, Dennis Groenenboom, Executive Director of Iowa Legal Aid, had this to say, “Deb’s commitment and dedication through her contributions as a volunteer attorney, her encouragement of fellow attorneys to join the effort, and her donation of time to serve on the boards of Iowa Legal Aid and the Iowa Legal Aid Foundation in order to expand the resources available to help low-income Iowans make her a worthy recipient of this award.”


Because of Deb’s leadership, many other younger attorneys, associates, summer associates, and law students have become interested in and involved with Iowa Legal Aid, the Volunteer Lawyers Project, and other legal clinics for low-income Iowans.  Not only does Deb directly assist her clients, but through her encouragement and actions as a role model, many more are impacted as well.


Davis Brown attorneys are consistently recognized for volunteering more than the Iowa State Bar Association suggested 50 hours of pro bono work and pride themselves on giving back to the community in this way. Deb and her colleagues also lead the way in serving on local community boards and committees dedicated to improving the lives of local Iowans.


About the Rolland Grefe Pro Bono Publico Award

The award recognizes a legal professional who has committed his or her talent and training to improve the quality of justice in the community and around the state. The recipient is someone who has enhanced the human dignity of others by improving or delivering pro bono legal services to those who are unable to afford a lawyer. In doing so, this individual honors the legacy of Rollie Grefe, one of the true pillars of the Iowa State Bar Association.