Honorable Louis H. Pollak Award

The Honorable Louis H. Pollak Champion of the Public Interest Award will be presented by the Philadelphia Bar Foundation on special occasions to a lawyer who has been a true champion of the public interest legal community. The Pollak award honors a lawyer, in private practice, who throughout his or her career has provided extraordinary service, including through support of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation, to the mission of accomplishing access to justice for all.

The Pollak Award is a special award in memory of an extraordinary man. As a lawyer, jurist and citizen, Judge Pollak championed the rights of the underprivileged in our community. With the greatest sensitivity and commensurate wisdom and intellect, Judge Pollak advanced the public interest, by his commitment to civil rights and the rights of all. From his work on Brown v. Board of Education, to his role as a leading educator, to his thoughtful and brilliant career as a jurist, Judge Pollak forever enriched our legal community and the community as a whole. It is a great honor that his wife has allowed the Bar Foundation to present this award in his name.

A wonderful piece is online here, detailing Judge Pollak’s life (Lou Pollak: The Road to Brown v. Board of Education and Beyond, Leanna Lee Whitman and Michael Hayes, published by the American Philosophical Society).


2016 Winner of The Honorable Louis H. Pollak Champion of the Public Interest Award

Photo of Larry BeaserThe Philadelphia Bar Foundation is thrilled to announce its decision to present Lawrence J. Beaser, Esq., Partner, Blank Rome LLP with The Honorable Louis H. Pollak Champion of the Public Interest Award.  In announcing this award, Steven Bizar, Esq., Foundation President and Partner at Dechert LLP stated, “It is such a special occasion for the Bar Foundation to recognize Larry as a true champion of accomplishing access to justice for all.  Larry is an extraordinary friend and supporter of the public interest community and his career-long efforts have greatly advanced the legal aid mission of the Foundation for those struggling with poverty, abuse, and discrimination.”

This important and prestigious honor will be officially presented at The Access to Justice Benefit of the Bar Foundation on Saturday evening, November 5, 2016 at the Independence Seaport Museum.  “We truly look forward to giving this award to Larry at our annual benefit,” said Benefit Co-Chair, Deborah Gross, Esq., Bar Association Chancellor-Elect, Kaufman, Coren & Ress, P.C.  “His commitment to philanthropy on behalf of legal aid and other nonprofits is a model for all attorneys,” added Tricia Horter, Esq., Citizens Bank, N.A.  Larry has long served as the Philadelphia Bar Association’s board representative at The Philadelphia Foundation (TPF), counsel to the Bar Association, and a board member of numerous nonprofits.  

Larry is a longstanding member of the Bar Foundation’s Hamilton Circle, signifying at least $10,000 in donations over time.  He held the position of Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association in 1994, and he currently serves as Counsel to the Association’s Board of Governors.  Larry has been a board member for several nonprofits and, in addition to serving as Chair Emeritus and a member of TPF’s board, is currently an Advisory Board Member for Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, a grantee of the Bar Foundation.  Each year Larry provides over 130 hours of pro bono service, including pro bono representation of Bar Foundation grantees.  In government service, Larry previously was chief legal counsel to Pennsylvania Gov. Milton J. Shapp and a Deputy Attorney General.  As a partner of Blank Rome LLP, he counsels individuals and entities in the fields of nonprofit and for-profit business law, health and health insurance law, and government law.

Click here to read the full press release about this announcement. 


Robert C. (Bob) Heim (photo below) received the inaugural Honorable Louis H. Pollak Award in 2014. Bob is a partner at Dechert LLP, for 20 years head of its Litigation Department, and is a nationally-known trial lawyer who has also been a distinguished Bar and Civic Leader. He has been involved with some of the most high profile litigation nationally while at the same time devoting himself to public interest causes, many pro bono clients, and leadership in the public interest community. Bob served as Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association and President of the National Conference of Bar Presidents.

Photo of Bob Heim