2019 Hon. Benjamin Aranda III
Outstanding Public Service Awards
On June 19, 2019, four volunteers were awarded for their dedication and invaluable work with the LACBA/Counsel for Justice pro bono projects:
Domestic Violence Legal Services Project
L-R: DVP Director Sara Rondon and award recipient Jennifer Bonneville of Steptoe & Johnson
Jennifer Bonneville of Steptoe & Johnson received the Honorable Benjamin Aranda III award for her outstanding service to the Domestic Violence Legal Services Project. Having been a volunteer for over seven years, and giving over 300 hours of pro bono time, in 2018 Jennifer joined the Counsel for Justice Board, and actively recruits volunteers for all of the Legal Services Project.
Congratulations and Thank You Jennifer!
Veterans Legal Services Project
L-R: LACBA Past President Brian Kabateck and Award recipient Anthony Bonadies of the Inner City Law Center staff
The Veterans Legal Service Project was pleased to present its Honorable Benjamin Aranda III Award to Anthony Bonadies for his outstanding service to the Project. Anthony, an Army Veteran and exceptional attorney, has volunteered with the project in nearly every capacity for the past two years, in addition to working his regular job as a full-time staff attorney at the Inner City Law Center. He has personally worked on more than 40 cases, participated in multiple monthly clinics and regularly staffed our office hours at Patriotic Halls. Thank you for your inspiring service to this nation and this nations’ veterans.
Immigration Legal Assistance Project
L-R: Jane McCaffrey (Immigration Project Assistant Directing Attorney) and award recipient Suzanne Johnson, attorney volunteer of the year
LACBA’s Immigration Legal Assistance Project has named Suzanne Johnson as its Honorable Benjamin Aranda III Award recipient for 2019. Suzanne has been helping the immigrant community here in Los Angeles through her work at the Project for more than five years.
Her commitment and dedication to our clients has been invaluable. Without Suzanne’s support, the Project would not have been able to help the 11,000 people we see every year. Her willingness to show up on Thursday mornings, to help consult with clients, or assist with paperwork made a great difference to the Project and the community. The Project depends upon volunteer attorneys, like Suzanne, to help us serve the immigrant community better.
She believes in LACBA’s goal of providing “access to justice” for all members of our society and brings a compassionate attitude to our clients and their families.
AIDS Legal Services Project
L-R: Laurie Aronoff, AIDS Legal Services Project Director, and award recipient, Diana G. Vasquez, sole practitioner
Solo practitioner Diana G. Vasquez settled a wrongful HIV testing case just before jury selection after almost four years of litigation. Diana is also an RN and worked for LA County Office of AIDS Programs and Policy. She went back to school to become a lawyer so she could do direct advocacy work.
In August 2014, the client, “DC” a young man of 26, went in for surgery at a public hospital to repair a broken jaw that he suffered during an attack. While DC was under anesthesia, there was an incident during the surgery and the hospital subsequently tested the client for HIV. DC was not informed after the surgery that he was tested for HIV, the test results or the nature of the incident. Four days later he was called by an unknown person at the hospital to see if he was “taking his HIV medication.” This call constituted the client’s notice that an HIV test had been conducted and he was positive - he was not provided with treatment options, counseling, or any other statutorily required information in the call.
DC was living with his father at the time. When he told his father what happened, his father promptly kicked him out of the house since he didn’t want to live with someone who was HIV+. Distraught, alone, homeless, DC moved to Washington state where fortunately, his mother and sister welcomed him. He got connected to HIV care, started attending a support group and found a job.
Diana’s office spent hundreds of hours to reach a very favorable settlement agreement just before jury selection overcoming two demurrers and one motion for summary judgement.