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Columbus attorney receives state award for volunteer service

James FeibelColumbus attorney James Feibel received the 2012 John C. and Ginny Elam Pro Bono Award from Supreme Court of Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor at the Ohio State Bar Association Annual Convention in Cincinnati. The award recognizes and encourages exceptional pro bono legal work in Ohio.

For more than 50 years, Jim Feibel has given generously of his time and talent to charitable causes, health-related services and family-oriented civic activities that have had a profound effect on the quality of life for hundreds of people in Central Ohio.

While many attorneys do volunteer work, it is hard to top Feibel’s work as a certified foster parent. According to nominator Alan Weiler, “He and his wife, Babette, deserve this award as a team. For over 45 years they have served as foster parents to over 100 children ranging in age from newborns to 9 or 10 years old. These children have been placed with them by several agencies. Some children stayed with them for short times and others remained with them for as many as 14 months. Frequently, the placements have been made with very little notice. His wife will be the first to tell you that Jim did his fair share of counseling and caring for these foster children, which has helped him retain his skills in giving bottles and changing diapers for infant children.”

In addition to his being a practicing attorney, which has included serving as the partner in charge of the Columbus office of Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff, Feibel has devoted countless volunteer hours, year after year, raising funds for and providing leadership to community organizations that provide health care for needy families in Central Ohio. These have cut across all religious, ethnic and nationality groups. Feibel has avoided the limelight, but those who have worked with Mount Carmel Health System Foundation or Jewish Family Services will vouch for his longtime leadership and devotion to the cause of funding and providing health services and family-related services to poor and underprivileged people in Central Ohio.

In recent years Feibel has played a leadership role for the Capital Park Family Health Center. With his assistance, they have built and now operate a new facility in northeastern Franklin County, which provides health services to impoverished families, many of whom are immigrants from Somalia.

The Elam pro bono award was named in memory of John C. Elam, who exhibited an abiding interest in encouraging lawyers and law firms to engage in pro bono activities, and also generously donated his own time and talents to many activities promoting the common good and helping to ensure that the justice system is available to all. To honor his memory, his wife, Ginny Elam, established the award to encourage such activities by recognizing exceptional pro bono legal work in the state of Ohio.

In addition to receiving a plaque, Feibel also earns the right to designate an organization to receive a $5,000 grant for service that furthers the intent of the Elam award. Feibel has chosen a newly formed organization supporting the Franklin County Drug Court and its Diversion Program to receive the $5,000 from the John and Ginny Elam Family Fund of the Columbus Bar Foundation in Feibel’s name.

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