American Bar Association honors Bowen alum for public service

Bill Waddell. Submitted photo.

A University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law graduate is one of five national recipients of an American Bar Association award that honors public service in the legal profession. 

William (Bill) Waddell Jr., a partner at Friday, Eldredge & Clark, will receive the American Bar Association’s Pro Bono Publico Award during an Aug. 12 awards luncheon in New York.

The award is given to lawyers and institutions that have demonstrated outstanding commitment to providing volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged.

These services are of critical importance to the increasing number of people living in poverty who need legal representation to improve their lives, according to the American Bar Association.

“In the end, increased access to justice is crucial,” Waddell wrote on the American Bar Association website. “Individuals in need, particularly women and children, often have nowhere to turn but legal aid, and their unmet problems, which can often be resolved with minimal assistance, result in a loss of community.”

Waddell has devoted hundreds of hours as a volunteer, handling more than 300 pro bono adoptions for Bethany Christian Services. He also serves as legal counsel to the United Methodist Church’s Council of Bishops and has served as chancellor to the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church.

In 2009, Wadell’s work led to the creation of the Arkansas Access to Justice Foundation, where he served as chair of the board of directors for eight years. The foundation later merged with Arkansas’ Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts program to diversify support for legal aid.

Waddell is a 1978 graduate of the University of Central Arkansas and a 1984 UA Little Rock law school graduate. He is a recipient of a 2017 Outstanding Lawyer Award from the American Bar Association, a 2016 Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award from Legal Aid of Arkansas, and a 2013 Arkansas Bar Foundation Equal Justice Distinguished Service Award.

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