Dayton attorney receives state award for volunteer service

Dayton attorney Kermit Lowery received the 2014 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 Columbus. The award recognizes and encourages outstanding pro bono legal work in the state of Ohio.

Lowery was nominated by the president and staff of the Greater Dayton Volunteer Lawyers Project (GDVLP), who wrote: “Mr. Lowery is the picture of what makes an outstanding attorney and a compassionate individual. His dedication to his profession, his community and his country is reflected in everything he does, every day.”

The GDVLP is a nonprofit organization that provides free legal services to low-income individuals who qualify for assistance. For more than 20 years, Lowery has volunteered pro bono representation in countless divorce cases in many of the seven counties GDVLP serves. He also serves on the GDVLP Board of Directors, has served as the organization’s president for the past two years, and placed an important role in the recent selection of the new GDVLP executive director.

Lowery’s service goes beyond his willingness to provide his pro bono service for GDVLP. He served our country as an active-duty JAG officer for three years, and then in the Army Reserves. When he retired in 2012 as a “0-6” colonel, he had served more than 10 months with the Joint Task Force Guantanamo in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and a combined 39 years of active and reserve duty. Evidencing his commitment to help those who serve, he has volunteered many Saturdays to participate in the Dayton Bar Association’s Wills for Heroes program. The program provides assistance with end-of-life documents for first responders such as police officers and firefighters.

An active Dayton Bar Association member, Lowery currently serves as second vice-president of the Board of Trustees, and is slated to become its president in 2015. Attorney Mary K.C. Soter, who named Lowery as “barrister of the month” in a Dayton Bar Association publication, wrote that he values bar membership and encourages attorneys to take advantage of networking opportunities with attorneys of all types, ages and demographics.

Lowery demonstrates his commitment to young people through his participation in the Law & Leadership Institute, an organization whose aim is to encourage and help prepare underserved students to become business and community leaders. He has also mentored a law student for the past three years through the Leadership Counsel for Legal Diversity. His position with LexisNexis allows him to provide mentoring and shadowing opportunities for students.

Hon. Mary L. Wiseman, Kelly A. Henrici and Kathleen A. Miller of GDVLP, Lowery report that he has “touched so many lives with his hard work and diligence,” and that his “unending dedication to the profession and to the act of volunteering make him the choice to receive this prestigious recognition.” They note that, when Lowery is asked where his desire to help comes from, he always credits his mother, a single parent, for teaching him, in words and in action, how to “pay it forward.” In her article naming Lowery “barrister of the month,” Soter relates that his mother taught him to “live his life by performing random acts of kindness and generosity,” and concluds that he “certainly learned that lesson well.”



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