Little Rock attorney Bill Waddell, a partner at Friday, Eldredge & Clark, is one of five national recipients of a 2017 ABA Pro Bono Publico Award, given to individual lawyers and institutions in the legal profession that have demonstrated outstanding commitment to volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged.
The award is presented by the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service. Waddell will be honored next week during an awards luncheon Aug. 12 at the ABA’s annual meeting in New York.
Waddell heads up the Friday firm’s commercial litigation and regulation practice group and is a member of its management committee. He is a 1978 graduate of the University of Central Arkansas and earned a law degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1984.
Waddell has devoted hundreds of hours of time as a volunteer, according to a news release, handling more than 300 pro bono adoptions for Bethany Christian Services over the course of his career. As a deeply committed Methodist, 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 addition, he routinely handles legal aid case referrals.
In addition to his work with individual clients, Waddell has helped advance access to justice at a state level. As an early appointee to the state’s Access to Justice Commission, Waddell has led a variety of initiatives to expand the role of pro bono service and increase funding for legal aid.
In 2009, according to the release, his work led to the creation of the Arkansas Access to Justice Foundation, which has since merged with the state’s Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program as a means of diversifying support for legal aid. Waddell also served as the Chair of the Foundation’s board of directors for eight years.
Waddell also received the Outstanding Lawyer Award at the Arkansas Bar Association’s Annual Meeting in June. The award is given in recognition of excellence in the practice of law and for outstanding contributions to the profession.
He’s also recently penned a self-published children’s book entitled Palindromic Pledge. The book follows Anna and Rocío over the course of their summer break as they learn what the promise of justice in the Pledge of Allegiance really means.