LSA Announces Recipients of Annual Justice, Fairness & Hope Awards

LSA Announces Recipients of Annual Justice, Fairness & Hope Awards

In a momentous celebration of its 20th anniversary, Legal Services Alabama (LSA) is proud to announce the distinguished recipients of its annual Justice, Fairness, & Hope Awards, recognizing outstanding contributions to the pursuit of justice and legal advocacy in Alabama.

“We are thrilled to honor these exceptional advocates who have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to justice and equality,” says Guy Lescault, LSA Executive Director. “As we reflect on 20 years of service, these awards exemplify the power of legal advocacy in creating a more just and equitable society.”

LSA has tirelessly served the community for two decades, providing crucial support to individuals facing legal challenges. This milestone anniversary marks not only a testament to the organization’s unwavering commitment but also an opportunity to acknowledge the exceptional individuals who have played pivotal roles in advancing access to justice across the state.

Tommy Wells Access to Justice Award

Former United States Representative, Spencer Bachus, III will receive the LSA Tommy Wells Access to Justice Award to honor his history of efforts to promote racial understanding and reconciliation and his continued commitment to championing legislation in support of low-income and marginalized Alabamians. During his 12-year tenure in Congress, Bachus was recognized by the Faith & Politics Institute with the Lewis-Houghton Award. Jointly named after the late congressmen Amo Houghton and John Lewis, the Lewis-Houghton Award is given to leaders who have exhibited “qualities of conscience, courage and compassion in their roles as public servants,” through a demonstrated “long-term commitment to leadership in service of the common good – regardless of short-term political ramifications.”

Despite retiring from Congress in 2015, Bachus remains a staunch and active supporter for justice reform and “second chance” legislation that limits excessive use of jail time as punishment for non-violent offenders. Alabama has one of the lowest parole approval rates in the nation, at only 10 percent in 2022, with people over the age of 55 making up 15 percent of the prison population. Bachus’ legislative advocacy promotes a culture of rehabilitation and mercy reflected in the restorative services received on average by over 240 Alabamians annually through the LSA series of Road to Redemption legal expungement clinics.

Taze Shepard Pro Bono Fairness Award

To honor their ongoing dedication to pro bono service through the empowerment of Black entrepreneurs in the Birmingham area, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings (Bradley) is being recognized with the LSA Taze Shepard Pro Bono Fairness Award. The Pro Bono Fairness Award acknowledges the firm’s significant contributions in advancing legal access for marginalized communities and fostering positive change in the local business landscape. Since April 2022, the Bradley firm has partnered with LSA to expand their Black-owned Small Business and Community Nonprofit Clinics into Alabama. Modeled after their clinics in Nashville, the Black-owned Small Business and Community Nonprofit Clinics provide free and accessible business-oriented legal services to Black-owned small businesses and nonprofits throughout Birmingham.

The firm’s collaboration with free, community legal clinics has played a crucial role in leveling the playing field, offering legal guidance and support to entrepreneurs who often face unique challenges. Over the last two years, the partnered project has helped to establish and support over 50 businesses in the region.

John Lewis Hope Award

For outstanding advocacy work to protect essential voting rights and access for residents across the state, Alabama Forward (AL Forward) and their work accomplished with Executive Director Evan Milligan, will be recognized with the LSA John Lewis Hope Award. The AL Forward coalition describes itself as “a statewide civic engagement network committed to bringing together nonpartisan organizations to work together in building power around progressive civic issues and movement towards greater freedom.” Milligan was the named plaintiff in the Allen v. Milligan U.S. Supreme Court case that determined Alabama’s congressional districts violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by discriminating against Black voters. Through their education, outreach and civic engagement strategies, AL Forward is advancing the legacy of John Lewis by ensuring equal access and representation in the democratic process.

Milligan is currently working towards the passage of new district maps for Alabama that include two majority-Black districts, while the AL Forward coalition pursues its goal of establishing increased civic engagement through voter registration and community training opportunities, as well as doubling the number of responses to the census by 2030. Census data is used to allocate billions of federal dollars to states and local communities for programs and services like education, healthcare, transportation, housing, and social services. AL Forward’s work towards increased participation in the census by Alabama residents will help to secure appropriate federal funding that supports the wellbeing of our communities.

LSA’s 4th Annual Justice, Fairness, & Hope Awards luncheon will take place at noon on May 2nd, 2024, at the RSA Activity Center, 201 Dexter Ave Montgomery, AL 36104. LSA looks forward to the continued collaboration with its dedicated partners, supporters, and the broader community as it embarks on the next chapter of its mission. For more information about LSA, its 20th-anniversary, and the upcoming awards reception, please visit

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The LSA law firm provides free, client-centered, civil legal advocacy to low-income Alabamians and collaborates with others across the state and nation to find solutions to systemic issues caused by poverty and social justice inequities. LSA is one of the preeminent legal aid organizations in the country in bridging the civil justice gap through its recognized commitment to racial, social, and economic justice and support of a talented, diverse, and innovative staff. LSA offices are located in Anniston/Gadsden, Birmingham, Dothan, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery, Selma and Tuscaloosa. LSA offices handle civil cases only and each office has lawyers licensed to practice in Alabama and other staff who know how to help low-income people resolve their legal problems.