UNH Law & NH Pro Bono Select Fredenburg for Posthumous Friedman Award

The UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law and the NH Pro Bono Referral Program will present the 2019 Bruce Friedman Pro Bono Award to Thomas A. Fredenburg posthumously on October 30 at a 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. reception hosted at UNH Law.

A 1981 graduate of then Franklin Pierce Law School, Fredenburg, who died earlier this year at 68 years old, advocated tirelessly for marginalized and vulnerable community members, both as a legal services staff attorney and as a volunteer providing pro bono services.

The award, which recognizes the distinguished volunteer efforts of a UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law graduate providing pro bono legal services in New Hampshire, is presented in memory of former UNH Franklin Pierce Law Professor Bruce E. Friedman.

Friedman counselled his students “to do good and do well.” He inspired hundreds of aspiring attorneys, including Fredenburg, who did just that as they joined the ranks of the NH Bar, becoming community attorneys, legal aid lawyers and private attorneys passionate about giving back through delivery of free legal services to low-income people.

The connection between Friedman and Fredenburg runs deep. Friedman was not only Fredenburg’s teacher and mentor but later colleague, friend and fellow basketball fanatic. In Fredenburg, Friedman’s legacy lived on until his untimely death.

As former NH Legal Assistance (NHLA) Executive Director John E. Tobin wrote in his nomination letter, “Tom Fredenburg was a uniquely generous, energetic and creative lawyer and advocate.  He devoted his legal skills, his time and energy, and his vast reservoir of compassion to a range of activities that brought justice and humanity to the people of our state.”

During his long career as a staff attorney first with NHLA and then the Legal Advice and Referral Center (LARC), Fredenburg also assisted victims of domestic abuse in securing final restraining orders through Pro Bono’s DOVE Project. He developed a close relationship with the Pro Bono Program during his tenure at LARC, understanding and advocating for private attorney engagement in helping to make a difference for those living on the economic margins.

After leaving LARC, he applied his well-honed legal talents to volunteer work in helping Concord’s homeless population. Fredenburg provided legal advice to countless people in need by holding office hours at the Concord Homeless Resource Center. Serving on the Board of the Concord Coalition to End Homelessness, he played a lead role in the organization’s advocacy, opposing proposed panhandling laws that would criminalize homelessness. Earlier in his career, he was involved in the formation of CATCH Neighborhood Housing.

As a legal services attorney and a pro bono advocate, Fredenburg was a voice for fairness and justice, whether trying to preserve a family’s housing, seeking to obtain improperly denied benefits for a disabled individual or securing a protective order and safety for domestic violence survivors and their children. Whatever the issue, he worked to make sure simple justice was within reach of those society often overlooks.


As of June 1, 2021, the NHBA Pro Bono Referral System is part of 603 Legal Aid.