June 2014 Bar Bulletin
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June 2014 Bar Bulletin

PRO BONO AWARD: Joseph Gaffney

By Gwen Remmen


Joseph Gaffney

The King County Bar Association proudly honors Joseph M. Gaffney as the recipient of the 2014 Pro Bono Award.

One of Gaffney's lasting achievements is a result of the pro bono work he began four decades ago. In 1974, Gaffney and two other young and energetic attorneys opened the first Neighborhood Legal Clinic (NLC) in Capitol Hill at the Country Doctor Medical Clinic. Amazingly enough, Gaffney still is volunteering at that very same legal clinic.

He is incredibly dedicated and generous. The Association could not be more grateful to Gaffney for starting a program that has now grown to 34 legal clinics across King County. Utilizing more than 750 volunteer attorneys and legal assistants, NLC serves more than 8,000 clients each year.

Gaffney not only assists NLC clients, he is also an inspiring mentor for fellow volunteers. Zach Parsons, a University of Washington law student and Country Doctor Clinic assistant said, "I started volunteering as an undergraduate student and Mr. Gaffney encouraged me to apply to law school. He has always been happy to answer any questions that I have had about the process of law school and encourages me throughout."

At the KCBA's Annual Recognition Event honoring donors and volunteers, KCBA recognizes an NLC Volunteer of the Year with the Joe Gaffney Award for Outstanding Service.

"With his enthusiasm for pro bono work, wealth of knowledge and expertise, Joe Gaffney is a model for new and experienced volunteers alike," said Ellen Reed, program operations coordinator for the Housing Justice Project. "The recipients of the Joe Gaffney Award exemplify the best and finest traditions of community service."

In addition to his work with the Neighborhood Legal Clinics, Gaffney is involved with numerous civic and community activities. He is chairman of the Board of Directors for the College Success Foundation and a board member of the Brotman Family and Nesholm Family foundations, the Seattle Foundation, the Seattle University Foundation and the Full Life Care Advisory Board.

Long recognized for his outstanding legal work, Gaffney is a partner at the international law firm Dorsey & Whitney, LLP, and a member of Dorsey's Tax and Estate Planning Group. His practice emphasizes private client services, including tax, estate planning, trust, probate, business succession and wealth management.

Gaffney is general counsel to numerous families, closely held business owners, trusts and nonprofit organizations. He has significant experience with IRS disputes, integrated financial and tax planning, shareholder agreements, executive compensation, administration of complex trusts and estates, and charitable matters. Gaffney is an officer and director of Dorsey & Whitney Trust Company.

In this, the 40th anniversary of the Neighborhood Legal Clinics, it is an opportune time to celebrate the extraordinary contributions of this exceptional volunteer. KCBA sincerely thanks Gaffney for his generosity and dedication to NLC clients, fellow volunteers and the staff at the King County Bar Association.


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