The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It
March 7, 2013

Remembering Bricker Lavik

LavikWe at The PBEye were extremely saddened to learn of the death of our good friend and pro bono champion Bricker Lavik on March 1.  For us, Mr. Lavik’s legacy is one of genuine commitment to serving others, particularly those most in need, and recruiting others to serve as well.  We send our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues at Dorsey & Whitney LLP*.  Below is a brief notice on Mr. Lavik’s passing courtesy of our friends at Dorsey.

It is with deep regret that I inform you that our colleague and good friend Bricker Lavik died on Friday, March 1, 2013. Bricker is survived by his beloved wife, Tonja Orr.

Bricker Lavik started his legal career as an attorney at the Legal Aid Society. In that role he represented clients in cases involving consumer credit, garnishments, repossessions, evictions, government benefits and more. He brought three Department of Housing and Urban Development administrative complaints resulting in the creation of 784 new units of low-income housing. He was lead counsel in a class action case raising deceptive trade practices claims, resulting in rent abatement claims procedures for tenants in a 100 unit apartment building.

Bricker joined Dorsey in 1986 and continued his efforts to ensure that low-income clients receive access to legal services by doing Pro Bono work and serving on numerous committees and boards. Because of Bricker’s leadership, Dorsey joined the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge as a charter signatory in 1993 and successfully achieved that Challenge for 20 consecutive years.

Bricker was the soul and conscience of Pro Bono and as such, received many recognitions including the Hennepin County Bar Association’s Distinguished Service Award in 2006 and Dorsey’s first ever Pro Bono Award for Distinguished Service in 2012. His commitment to serving the public was deep and pervasive. Humble and selfless, Bricker inspired us all never to rest on our laurels.

Bricker’s personal and professional passion for justice were among his most enduring qualities. He remained vibrant and vital through the most extreme health challenges imaginable. He seized every moment not because it could be his last but because he understood moments are to be seized.

Rather than battle these various maladies, he accepted their truth and dealt with them rationally, working as an eager partner with many outstanding medical professionals most notably his primary care team at the Mayo Clinic.

In the wake of this heartbreaking news, I am reminded of what a great inspiration Bricker was to so many people. He was a kind, generous, undaunted and wonderful person. And for this, we are grateful and our world is truly a better place.

It is worth noting that Bricker had a heart transplant in July 2000, shortly after being diagnosed with a rare heart disease. If it wasn’t for the generosity of the donor and the donor’s grieving family, think of all our Pro Bono world would have missed out on. I would guess that literally thousands of additional pro bono clients were reached, and many additional pro bono projects started, and pro bono professionals inspired, because of Bricker’s successful heart transplant. A wonderful tribute to Bricker as we all grieve, may be to make sure we are all organ donors. And of course, he would tell us to get out there and get more done to help those in need of our legal services!

* denotes a Signatory to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®
† denotes a Member of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project