Benton Franklin Legal Aid honors pro bono stars Atwood, Corbet

The Benton Franklin Legal Aid Society recognized two local attorneys with its highest awards for service to the community for 2021.

The nonprofit matches Tri-City residents who can’t afford attorneys to represent them with volunteer lawyers to handle noncriminal cases, ranging from evictions to bankruptcy, family law, protection orders and more.

Al Yencopal Award

Thomas J. Atwood

Thomas J. Atwood, of Atwood Law Office in Kennewick, was honored with the 2021 Al Yencopal Award. The award is named for the late judge who was a key supporter of bringing low- or no-cost legal services to the community, honors a local attorney for their longtime commitment to providing free services to clients who can’t afford them.

Atwood has been a member of the Washington Bar Association since 1985 and focuses on bankruptcy, disability and family law as well as criminal matters.

Gene Schuster Award

Cortney Corbet

Cortney Corbet, an associate attorney in the Richland office of Gravis Law PLLC, received the Gene Schuster Award, named for the late Legal Aid founder and typically given to volunteers who are earlier in their careers.

She was admitted to the Washington Bar Association in 2017 and focuses on family law and litigation.

Other awards

The Legal Aid Society honored Atwood, Corbet and others who stepped up to represent clients in non-criminal matters at its Dec. 3 event. Benton County Prosecutor Andy Miller spoke at the event.

Barb Otte-Potter, executive director, said it also recognized individuals and firms for their work in the past year, marked by a surge in demand for renters facing eviction as a pandemic ban expired in October.

They were:

  • Kari Hayles-Davenport, founding attorney, Tri-Cities Family Law, Kennewick.
  • Patrick D. McBurney Jr., Patrick D. McBurney Jr. Attorney at Law, Kennewick. McBurney provides bankruptcy, family law and criminal law services. He belongs to the state and federal bars.
  • Jeremy Bishop, Roach & Bishop LLP in Pasco. He focuses on personal injury, family law, estate planning, probate, business law and real estate law. He belongs to the state and federal bars.
  • Brandon P. Holt, Purcell Law, Kennewick. He focuses on family law and is a member of the state bar as well as being an Army veteran and former violent crimes detective.
  • Chvatal King Law, Richland. The firm, led by Patricia Joan Chvatal and Allison Michelle King, focuses on family law.
  • Austin M. Carmen, Clearwater Law Group, Kennewick. He focuses on criminal defense, personal injury, family law and general civil litigation and is licensed in Washington and Wyoming.
  • Gravis Law, a growing firm with headquarters in Richland, was honored for its new FAIR program, for Fairness, Accountability, Inclusion and Reform. It was created to bring equity to legal services and served 125 clients in 2021.

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Benton Franklin Legal Aid honors pro bono stars Atwood, Corbet