Llewelyn Pritchard receives 2010 Robert F. Drinan Award

Helsell Fetterman LLP, one of Seattle’s premier law firms, is proud to announce that long-time partner Llewelyn G. Pritchard will receive the prestigious Father Robert F. Drinan Award at the American Bar Association’s (ABA) mid-year meeting this February. Each year, the award recognizes an individual whose sustained and extraordinary commitment to the ABA’s Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities has advanced its mission of providing leadership to the legal profession in protecting and advancing human rights, civil liberties and social justice.

“Llew’s ongoing devotion to his community, dedication to his profession and unmatched commitment to improving the lives of immigrants embodies the essence of this award,” Scott Collins, managing partner of Helsell Fetterman, said. “I can’t think of a more deserving individual. Llew approaches his life and his career with moral conviction and devotion to justice.”

Throughout his career, Pritchard has taken a special interest in providing a voice to those who leave their own countries in pursuit of the American ideals of opportunity, justice and freedom. His dedication to immigration law and international advocacy has come to a head several times as he’s stood before courts and Congress on behalf of clients seeking access to justice. Additionally, Pritchard has worked tirelessly to affect change and establish policies within the American Bar Association by taking a personal stand on key and oft times controversial issues. He has been particularly active seeking civil liberties for gay, lesbian and transgender individuals and legal rights for immigrants, refugees and newcomers.

Pritchard arrived in Seattle more than 50 years ago on the North Coast Limited train from New York to build his law career. Even as a newcomer to the city, Pritchard has led a number of the Seattle’s highest profile boards including the Seattle Symphony, Allied Arts of Seattle, Allied Arts Foundation and Patrons of Northwest Civic, Cultural and Charitable Organizations (PONCHO). He has also been an active member of the boards of Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Northwest, Eastside YMCA, Betty Bowen Committee of the Seattle Art Museum and the Museum of Glass. For more than three decades he served as a member of the board of trustees and executive committee of the University of Puget Sound.

His involvement in and dedication to the Seattle community is layered on top of his ongoing commitment to the ABA, including a decade leading the Advisory Committee on Immigration, a pro bono pursuit to ensure our nation’s newest immigrants receive legal representation, fairness and justice. Pritchard has also served as a member of the Board of Governors and its Executive Committee of the association, chair of the Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities and the Executive Council of the ABA Family Law Section.

A member of the United Methodist Church, Pritchard has served as Chancellor of the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference of the Church since 1970. He has also been a trustee of the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference and many church-related organizations including Deaconess Children’s Home and Wesley Gardens Retirement Corporation. In 2009, Pritchard and his wife Jonie were honored by St. Mark’s Cathedral for their charitable work in the Seattle community.

Pritchard graduated from Drew University in 1958, and was later honored by his Alma Mater in 1983 when he was awarded Drew’s Alumni Achievement Award in the Arts. Pritchard went on to graduate from Duke University Law School in 1961. Upon graduation he moved to Seattle with his wife Jonie where they raised four children.

In announcing the award, current section chair Richard J. Podell said, “Llew Pritchard is what’s right and good about the ABA. He sacrifices his personal time and resources to help others less fortunate. He has been a great leader within the Individual Rights Section as well as in the Family Law Section, Board of Governors, the Immigration Commission, the Center for Human Rights, World Justice Project and Senior Lawyers Division. He has an indefatigable commitment to making the American Bar Association more responsive to the needs of our country and the world today. Most importantly, Llew Pritchard is a wonderful human being who has made those around him better for knowing him.”

Award Named for Jesuit Priest and former Massachusetts Congressman Father Robert F. Drinan

Called a “Model of moral tenacity” by The Washington Post, Father Drinan lived his life as a staunch advocate of social justice around the globe. A priest in the Jesuit order, Father Drinan earned a master’s degree from Boston College, two law degrees from Georgetown University and a doctorate in theology from Gregorian University in Rome. He then went on to work as a human rights advocate, to lead Boston College Law School as dean and to author twelve books. However, it wasn’t until his service in electoral politics, as the first priest to serve as a voting member of Congress, that he achieved his greatest visibility. Father Drinan maintained that a priest should be involved in secular pursuits as a way of promoting a more just and compassionate society. He served five, two-year terms in the House of Representatives for Massachusetts and only left when Pope John Paul II ordered him out of politics.

From there he began his career as a popular professor of human rights law, constitutional law and legal ethics at Georgetown University’s prestigious Law School. Father Drinan continued to serve as a pastor-at-large and writer on issues of human rights, poverty and social justice until his death on January 28, 2007 at the age of 86.