The lawyers at Connelly · Baker · Wotring LLP have deep ties to the community and place a high priority on community service, including pro bono representation, bar association programs and charitable activities. As part of our contribution to the community, we encourage and expect our attorneys to undertake pro bono representation as part of their commitment to the community. A similar commitment of service to the legal profession is prevalent throughout the firm, with our lawyers having devoted thousands of hours to sponsoring and participating in the leadership and educational activities of the Houston Bar Association. The Firm’s lawyers are also involved in numerous other state and local activities that promote the values of the profession and the community.
The Firm’s commitment to pro bono services was recognized by the Houston Bar Foundation in 2006, when the firm received the Houston Bar Foundation Award for "Outstanding Contribution to the Houston Volunteer Lawyer's Program by a Small Firm." The Firm also won the Outstanding Contribution Award in 2003, taking the highest number of pro bono cases in its category. The Volunteer Lawyer’s Program provides volunteer attorney representation to the poor and working poor in Harris County, referring over 1,000 cases to volunteer lawyers for representation and with volunteers donating nearly 24,000 hours in 2003.
Our lawyers are also seriously committed to advancing the values of the profession through service to the bar, with Michael Connelly serving in 2003-2004 as the President of the 11,000-member Houston Bar Association. His Presidency and its extensive service commitment follow a long history of leadership positions in the bar. Mr. Connelly has also served as Immediate Past President (2004-2005), President-Elect (2002-2003), Second Vice President (2001-2002), Director (1995-1999), and Treasurer (1999-2000), as well as having served as President and Chairman of the Houston Lawyer Referral Service (1996-1997) and Houston Volunteer Lawyers’ Program (2000-2001). He currently serves as a Director of the State Bar of Texas.
Environmental Partner Debra Baker chartered, co-founded and chaired the Environmental Law Section of the HBA and received the HBA’s President’s Award for Outstanding Service for 2000-2001. In 2006, Debra Baker received the State Bar of Texas' Dan Rugeley Price Award for an attorney who exemplifies service to the professional and the public, in recognition of her charitable fund-raising work. She donated the cash component of the award to the University of Houston Law Center's new Energy and Environmental Law and Policy Journal. In 2008, she was awarded the State Bar of Texas' Ma'at Justice Award given annually by the Women and the Law Section of the State Bar to an individual who has actively addressed the needs and issues of women in the legal profession and community. For almost two decades, Debra has been instrumental in raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for law-related charities in her role as a producer and writer of the popular and unique all-lawyer community theatre group that has performed at the downtown Hobby Center Theatre and other local venues. The all-lawyer musical "Night Court" raises money to fund charitable programs for legal services for the poor, as well as foster camaraderie among members of the legal community. She served as the Chair of the Houston Bar Foundation, the HBA's charitable arm, in 2007-2008.
Firm-wide attorney participation in professional service programs such as those sponsored by our bar associations and other professional organizations is a hallmark of the Firm that is highly valued.