The Legal Aid Association of California Family Law has honored Orrick managing associate Robert Uriarte with this year's Pro Bono Award. Mr. Uriarte was nominated for the award by Bay Area Legal Aid attorney Brenda Adams for collaborating with her on a complex custody case in which the client, a mother of two who had immigrated to the United States from Jordan, sought to maintain custody of her children after leaving her abusive husband.
After the client turned to Bay Area Legal Aid to obtain a temporary restraining order against her husband, the husband retaliated by initiating divorce and custody proceedings, cutting off all financial support to the client and falsely accusing the client of child abuse in an effort to seize custody of the children. When the husband’s oppressive discovery and procedural tactics began to strain Bay Area Legal Aid’s resources, the organization turned to Orrick for assistance. Mr. Uriarte took on the case, with help from Orrick partner Matt Poppe.
Mr. Uriarte reflected, “This case was by far the most difficult and rewarding thing I have done as an attorney…After a very hard fought trial, we obtained great custody and support rulings for the client, as well as an agreed to stay-away order. Aside from what we obtained in the courtroom, I really believe that the process empowered the client and left her in a much better place emotionally than when we started off. Watching her testify at the end of the trial was one of the proudest moments of my career.”
Each year, the Family Law Awards recognize outstanding service to California's families through legal services, pro bono and self-help centers at the courts. This year's awards will take place during a lunchtime ceremony at the 2015 Family Law/Self-Help Conference in San Francisco on Friday, January 23. To read the full press release announcing the winners, please click below.