May 28, 2008
Lawyer Who Brought Legal Services to Cancer Patients Receives Award for Pro Bono Work
Updated with Pictures 8/01/08
Phyllis C. Katz, a Richmond attorney who cofounded the Legal Information Network for Cancer (LINC), is the recipient of the 2008 Lewis F. Powell Jr. Pro Bono Award from the Virginia State Bar.
The award is bestowed by the VSB’s Committee on Access to Legal Services to recognize dedication to development and delivery of pro bono services that benefit poor and underserved persons in Virginia. The award was named for a late U.S. Supreme Court associate justice from Richmond.
During two personal bouts of cancer, Katz “discovered that there were hundreds of patients in Central Virginia in a similar battle for whom the legal complexities of diagnosis, treatment, and survival were daunting, and who were not getting adequate legal advice due to ignorance, confusion, and/or financial condition,” wrote C. Thomas Ebel, then-president of Sands Anderson Marks & Miller, which nominated her for the award. Katz practices in the firm’s local government law practice group.
Katz and Ann C. Hodges, a University of Richmond law professor, founded LINC to provide legal counsel to persons in that situation. Now, 12 years later, LINC has 90 volunteer attorneys throughout the state, Ebel wrote. More than 3,000 low-income cancer patients have been guided through the crisis brought about by their cancer diagnosis.
Since Katz came to Virginia in 1978, her many other civic commitments include serving on boards for Housing Opportunities Made Equal, the Institute on Philanthropy at the UR School of Continuing Studies, Commonwealth Catholic Charities, the Massey Cancer Center at Virginia Commonwealth University, the YWCA of Richmond, and the American Cancer Society. Since 1997, she has taught classes in VCU’s Especially for Nonprofit Organizations program and a course on nonprofit law at the UR School of Law.
Katz holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Rutgers University, a master’s in urban and regional planning from Ohio University, and a law degree from UR.
The Powell Award was presented during the VSB’s Pro Bono and Access to Justice Conference on May 22, 2008, at the Washington and Lee University School of Law in Lexington.