2012 – Steven S. Fus
Steven Fus exemplifies the tremendous impact that lawyers working in the corporate sector can have through pro bono work. As the Assistant General Counsel for Legal Operations and Administration at United Airlines, Inc., Steve for several years has quietly led by example on pro bono through his impressive volunteer efforts at Cabrini Green Legal Aid (CGLA). With that solid personal track record established, Steve more recently has become the architect of United’s new companywide pro bono program.
For the past four years, Steve has made CGLA’s Expungement Help Desk at the Daley Center his pro bono home. He volunteers every month, providing a critical service to people attempting to expunge or seal minor criminal records from their past as they seek a fresh start in their lives. CGLA staff effusively praise Steve’s efforts by noting that he not only provides skilled counseling and service, he consistently goes above and beyond for his clients and “delivers both good news and bad with professionalism and grace.” In his dozens of shifts at the desk, Steve has helped more than 350 individuals, and he now volunteers in contested court proceedings as well.
Within United, Steve is championing the effort to expand and formalize the company’s pro bono program, working with General Counsel Brett Hart to realize the vision that all attorneys at United have the opportunity to participate in meaningful pro bono work. Mr. Hart says it well when he notes that Steve “talks the talk and he walks the walk” when it comes to pro bono, through his personal efforts and in his leadership within the company and the larger legal community.
Through his pro bono service and his leadership at United, Steve puts into action his belief that all attorneys—including those like him working in the corporate sector—have a unique responsibility to perform pro bono work since lawyers are uniquely capable of providing that service to people in need.