Owen Blank Honored with Bar Association Pro Bono Award

Tonkon Torp business attorney Owen Blank has been honored with the 2015 Pro Bono Award of Merit, sponsored by the Multnomah Bar Association (MBA), Legal Aid Services of Oregon, and the Oregon Law Center. The award is given annually to a lawyer who strengthens and enriches the community by donating his time and expertise to provide services to clients who would otherwise be unable to afford them.  

In addition to a busy law practice focused on working with corporate, family-owned and nonprofit organizations on a range of business, real estate and commercial matters, Blank consistently devotes significant hours each year to providing pro bono counsel to local nonprofits, particularly those serving disadvantaged communities.

“It is not only the range and depth of his service but also the example he sets within our legal community that make Owen stand out as a champion for pro bono legal service in Multnomah County,” said William C. Penn, Director of Public Interest Law at Lewis & Clark Law School and long-time member of the MBA Pro Bono Awards Committee that reviewed nominations for this year’s honor.

For nearly two decades, Blank has provided pro bono services to Albina Head Start, Inc. (AHS), which delivers school readiness, social and other services to more than 1,000 low-income children and their families in North, Northeast and Southeast Portland. Last year Blank assembled and led a team of Tonkon Torp attorneys who represented AHS in a series of complex transactions that helped the organization retire a seven figure debt on its centers and create a seven figure reserve. In recognition of his impact on its long-term stability, last fall AHS renamed one of its buildings the Owen D. Blank Center. The facility houses both Head Start and Early Head Start programs.

Besides his ongoing work with AHS, Blank has provided pro bono services to, among others, the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs, Oregon Lawyers Committee of the American Civil Liberties Union, Portland Business Alliance, Oregon Sports Authority, and Lawyer’s Campaign for Equal Justice.

“Going beyond his personal commitment to pro bono clients, Owen has recruited many of our firm’s young associates and seasoned partners to apply their expertise to specific pro bono matters,” said Michael Morgan, Tonkon Torp managing partner. “Owen has never been turned down when he has asked colleagues to share their time on a pro bono matter – a true reflection of his effectiveness and credibility.”

A native Oregonian, Blank has practiced law in Portland for over four decades. He received his undergraduate and law degrees from Stanford University.

Blank will be presented the Pro Bono Award of Merit on May 7th at the Multnomah Bar Association’s annual meeting and dinner.

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