Richard P. Carmody, a leading bankruptcy law attorney with the law firm of Adams and Reese, has been named the inaugural Adams and Reese Senior Pro Bono Fellow in a new fellowship program recently launched by the firm. The new program offers senior attorneys the opportunity to effect change by devoting a significant portion of their working hours to pro bono ventures while continuing to serve clientele through traditional practice. For the 2016 fellowship program, Carmody will work with National Appleseed and its network of 17 social justice centers in the U.S. and Mexico. To recognize this commitment, Adams and Reese has made a generous $10,000 donation to National Appleseed.
As the first Adams and Reese National Appleseed Senior Pro Bono Fellow, Carmody will devote 50 to 75 percent of his working hours in 2016 to a variety of pro bono projects in collaboration with Appleseed.
“The people of Appleseed are my heroes for the work they do every day to help the powerless.” Carmody said. “That’s what this is about – leveraging our privilege to help the powerless, and that’s why Appleseed appeals to me for this fellowship.”
Added Mark C. Surprenant, Adams and Reese Pro Bono Paladin: “We strongly believe in the importance of pro bono service to others. The Senior Pro Bono Fellowship Program builds on that by awarding a senior Adams and Reese attorney with the opportunity to maximize his or her commitment to furthering public service by dedicating a larger portion of time to pro bono work. Given Richard’s strong dedication over many years to helping those in need, he is the perfect person to be our first Senior Pro Bono Fellow.”
Appleseed is a national non-profit network of 17 regional social justice interest centers coordinated through the National Appleseed Office in Washington, D.C. The Appleseed network enlists the work of pro bono attorneys and other distinguished professionals to research problems, recommend practical and systemic solutions, and work with center staff who are engaged in targeted and passionate advocacy to win reforms that ultimately lead to better lives for people throughout the U.S. and Mexico.
Among his planned projects with Appleseed, Carmody will continue his work on a collaborative National Appleseed venture that seeks to analyze the current state of foreign remittance fees and uncover ways to reduce fees so that more funds can be provided to recipients and thus infused into the economies of developing countries. In another project, Carmody will work with regional Appleseed Centers to explore updating the judicial process requirements for debt collection practices and encourage the court system to adopt stronger evidentiary requirements before a judgment is entered against a defendant. In a third project, Carmody and Appleseed will evaluate the current Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit structure and look for ways to prevent the expected cutoff of an estimated 500,000 SNAP benefit recipients over the course of 2016.
Throughout the expected year-long fellowship, Carmody, who is based in the Adams and Reese Birmingham, Alabama office, will continue serving his network of clients in the firm’s Transactions and Corporate Advisory Services Practice Group. He will travel as needed to the National Appleseed Office in Washington, D.C. as well as to the 17 regional Appleseed Centers. In addition to its contribution, Adams and Reese will underwrite the related expenses of Carmody’s travel and staff support.
“The Adams and Reese National Appleseed Senior Pro Bono Fellowship Program was created in part with the vision of offering seasoned attorneys the valued opportunity to experience ‘the best of both worlds,’” Carmody said. “Through this program, I can give back by devoting a large portion of my hours to an organization that aligns with our pro bono mission. And I can do this while continuing to be an active practitioner in the firm.”
Bert Brandenburg, President of National Appleseed, said the organization is looking forward to continuing its valued relationship with Adams and Reese through the new fellowship program.
“We’re honored to work with Richard and collaborate with one of the leading legal minds in the country on projects that are poised to increase the quality of life for so many around the country and in Mexico,” Brandenburg said. “We look forward to embarking on a year of groundbreaking reform work that we’ll accomplish together, and we’re grateful to have the blessing and support of Adams and Reese.”
Carmody has been practicing insolvency law for more than 40 years and has secured a nationwide reputation as solid counsel in the field. He joined Adams and Reese in 2003 as part of a merger with the Alabama law firm with which he had practiced since 1975. Carmody is a founding member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, and in 1992, he became the first attorney in Alabama to become certified as a specialist in Business Bankruptcy by the American Board of Certification. In 1999, he was inducted as a Fellow in the American College of Bankruptcy and serves on the College’s Pro Bono Committee and Foundation Board.
Carmody also served on the American Bankruptcy Institute’s National Ethics Task Force and was a Director of the American Board of Certification and a member of its Standards Committee. He previously served as a board member of Alabama Appleseed for six years, including three years as a liaison to the National Appleseed Board.