Laura Higbee ’11 Receives Volunteer Lawyer of the Year Award

Nearly 60 hours spent on Legal Aid matters this year
On Thursday, October 26, law professionals in Chattanooga gathered at Chattanooga Whiskey Hall for Legal Aid of East Tennessee’s annual Pro Bono Night, an event that celebrates individuals who have delivered exceptional volunteer service throughout the year. Awards given throughout the night included the Alexander Hamilton Award, the Bruce C. Bailey Volunteer Lawyer of the Year Award, the Pro Bono Firm of the Year Award and the Chief Justice William M. Barker Equal Access to Justice Award.

GPS alumna Laura Higbee ’11, a litigation attorney with Husch Blackwell, was one of two recipients of the Bruce C. Bailey Volunteer Lawyer of the Year Award. The other winner was Brad Harvey of Miller Martin. The award honors Bailey, a Tennessee lawyer who helped support Legal Aid in the 90s when significant funding cuts in Congress threatened the future of the organization.

Laura has clocked 58.6 hours on Legal Aid matters in 2023 through one-off clinics and appointed cases. The American Bar Association’s Model Rules encourage all attorneys to donate at least 50 hours per year.

Mary Frances DeVoe, the pro bono coordinator for Legal Aid, said, “In addition to taking cases, Laura has attended nearly every clinic we’ve hosted during the last 18 months. Even when she’s unfamiliar with what we’re asking her to do, she’s always willing to learn. She engages with Legal Aid really well and is tremendously supportive.”

In her acceptance speech, Laura spoke about how the educational institutions in which she grew up taught her about giving back and being inclusive. Of GPS specifically she said, “My late headmaster [Randy Tucker] told us every opening assembly that, ‘To whom much is given, much is expected,’ and that I hope I’ve made him proud.”