November 15, 2019
For more information, contact:
John M. Greabe
Director, Warren B. Rudman Center
Professor of Law
8th Annual Bruce E. Friedman Pro Bono Award Ceremony Posthumously Honors Thomas A. Fredenburg at the UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law
Co-sponsored by the UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law and the NH Bar Association, the award recognizes a graduate who has made an extraordinary contribution to providing pro bono legal services.
CONCORD, NH – Thomas A. Fredenburg, a legal services attorney and pro bono advocate who died this past May at age 68, devoted his career to helping the indigent access legal services they would otherwise be unable to afford. He gave voice to those in the community who were often overlooked, securing housing, denied benefits and protective orders for those most in need.
Recently the legal community came together to honor Fredenburg’s selfless devotion to the people of New Hampshire. The UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law and the NH Bar Association presented Fredenburg’s wife, Hilary Thomson, and their son, Angus, with the Bruce E. Friedman award.
The award recognizes a UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law graduate, and a member of the NH bar, who exemplifies Professor Friedman’s commitment to representing the indigent through exemplary pro bono service. Former UNH Law Professor Bruce E. Friedman founded the law school’s civil practice clinic and was a legend in the world of civil legal services.
The two men shared more than a passion to give back and help those less fortunate in the Granite State. Bruce Friedman was Tom Fredenburg’s law professor and, later, his colleague and close friend.
New Hampshire Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes, one of many speakers at the event, presented the Fredenburg family with a Senate resolution. Calling Fredenburg a social justice icon, the resolution lauded his quiet leadership, without seeking the limelight or personal gain, and praised his continuing positive impact on the state.
Virginia Martin, director of the New Hampshire Pro Bono Program, observed that Fredenburg lived a life of purpose and a life of joy. “He brought justice and humanity to people in our state, particularly to those on the margins,” she noted.
Steven B. Scudder, former counsel to the ABA standing committee on pro bono and public service, was a member of the selection committee nominating Fredenburg for the award. He recalled Fredenburg’s many talents, including how handy he was with hammer and saw. “Tom was a builder. And that’s what we all need to be, builders of community,” he said, addressing law colleagues and students
Make an Impact
“Tom’s accomplishments as a lawyer are so great. But his accomplishments as a husband, a dad, and as a member of our Concord and New Hampshire community are beyond description,” said the Hon. Charles S. Temple, NH Superior Court. He presented the award to Fredenburg’s son, Angus, and his wife, Hilary.
“Humility, integrity, compassion, humor, passion and above all else, kindness, these are the words that describe Tom Fredenburg,” continued Temple. He, too, had a message for students in the audience. “In your community and in the courtroom, make an impact. Spend your time representing the homeless, the disadvantaged, the vulnerable, the victims of domestic violence,” he said. “Like Tom, be part of the fabric of your community.”
Sidebar: Pro Bono Referral Marathon Places 17 Cases
The Bruce Friedman award ceremony capped off a week of pro bono-related activities at the UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law, including a pro bono referral marathon.
The referral marathon, held in conjunction with the NH Pro Bono Referral Program, is an annual event. “This year, we placed 17 cases, serving 34 household members, which includes at least 12 children,” said Courtney Q. Brooks, professor and director of legal residencies, and faculty fellow in the Warren B. Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership and Public Service.
Pamela Dodge and Angelika Wilkerson, from NH Pro Bono, arrived at the UNH Law School with case summaries describing people in NH seeking attorneys. Students, faculty and staff then volunteered to call attorneys on the Pro Bono Program panel, and asked them to represent a NH resident in need of free legal services.
“Besides placing 17 cases, we added 10 UNH Law alumni to the Pro Bono referral panel,” said Brooks. “This means these attorneys have agreed to take cases in the future.”
Brooks called the referral marathon a great learning experience. “Students learn more about those in our community who are in need. As law students they can also help bridge the gap to justice by helping these individuals find lawyers for their cases.”
“But it’s not just about placing cases,” stressed Brooks. “It’s about understanding what it means to gain access to justice.”
The Warren B. Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership and Public Service was established in 2013. The Center honors the legacy of Senator Warren Rudman by training public service leaders to seek justice, serve their community, and work for the common good. Each year, thanks to generous sponsors and benefactors, the Center awards stipends to select UNH Law students who devote their summer employment to public service with government agencies and non-profits. In 2019 alone, UNH Law students contributed more than 34,300 hours of pro bono work through UNH Law clinics, legal residencies, and summer placements. Summer jobs – many supported by Rudman Summer Fellowships – accounted for approximately 21,900 of those hours.
Read the announcement of 2019 Bruce E. Friedman Pro Bono Award
Photographs (please credit photographer A. J. Kierstead)
- Presenting Award: The Hon. Charles S. Temple, NH Superior Court, presents the Bruce E. Friedman Award to the son (Angus) and wife (Hilary Thomson) of award recipient Thomas A. Fredenburg, who passed away last May.
- The Hon. Charles S. Temple urges students to be like award recipient Thomas A. Fredenburg, and make an impact in the community and courtroom.
- From left, Angus Fredenburg, Hilary Thomson (son and wife of award recipient Thomas A. Fredenburg) and Virginia Martin, director of the NH Pro Bono Program.
- NH Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes presents Angus Fredenburg with a Senate Resolution honoring Fredenburg’s late father, Thomas.
- Steven B. Scudder, former counsel to the ABA standing committee on pro bono and public service, praises award recipient Thomas A. Fredenburg for building community. Scudder was a member of the selection committee nominating Fredenburg for the award.
- Courtney Q. Brooks, professor and director of legal residencies, announces that volunteers at the referral marathon earlier that day placed 17 cases, serving 34 people in need of pro bono legal services.