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National Organization to Honor Fossel for Pro Bono Service

July 9, 2012

Legal Services Corporation's (LSC) national Board of Directors has selected Varnum attorney Joy Fossel as a recipient of a pro bono service award for her commitment to providing legal services to the underserved in Michigan.

The prestigious award will be presented to only six Michigan attorneys on Thursday, July 26 in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan Law School.

Legal Services Corporation was founded in 1974 by the United States Congress with the mission of promoting equal access to justice and to provide high quality civil legal assistance to low-income persons. LSC provides funding for 134 independent nonprofit legal aid programs around the country, making it the largest funder of civil legal aid for low-income Americans in the nation. Legal Aid of Western Michigan nominated Fossel for the award.

Fossel has been widely recognized in recent years for her outstanding contribution to Varnum's pro bono program. She was the recipient of the Michael S. Barnes Award for pro bono work in 2010 and was the recipient of the 2011 John W. Cummiskey award for pro bono service from the State Bar of Michigan. Fossel averages 100 hours of pro bono work annually, and has given as much as 600 hours a year.

Fossel is a litigation and trial attorney with extensive experience dealing with complex business and commercial litigation, employment claims, health care litigation, product liability and contested probate matters.  In addition to her practice, she serves as the Diversity and Inclusion Counsel and leads the firm in its diversity and inclusion efforts, including diversity scholarships, internships, Varnum's internal diversity committee, and community initiatives and donations. In 2011, Fossel was appointed to the State Bar of Michigan's Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee.

Outside of her practice, Fossel is active in the West Michigan community and has been involved in numerous nonprofit organizations and causes, including serving as a trustee or director on the boards of the Gerontology Network, Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, West Michigan Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Grand Rapids Ballet, the Kent County AIDS Foundation and the Grand Rapids AIDS Resource Center.

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