Akin Gump 2018 Pro Bono Awards Recognize Lawyer, Staff Efforts Firmwide

(New York) – Akin Gump, on June 27, held its annual Pro Bono Awards, recognizing the work done by lawyers and staff as part of the firm’s 88,000+-hours of pro bono legal service performed in 2017.

The firmwide awards event was hosted by chairperson Kim Koopersmith in New York; pro bono partner Steve Schulman led the event in Washington, D.C., with participating offices linked via videoconference. Individual offices also held their own local award ceremonies.

Four offices—Washington, D.C.; New York; Dallas; Houston—also held in-house auctions that raised a total of more than $45,000 to benefit, respectively, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs and the Human Trafficking Legal Center; the Safe Passage Project; The Bridge Dallas; and Houston Volunteer Lawyers.

The individuals, teams and matters recognized at the firmwide ceremonies were:

International Pro Bono Attorney of the Year: Marc Hammerson – recognizing London energy partner Marc Hammerson and the global impact of his pro bono practice, as, working with the International Senior Lawyers Project, he led trips to Africa to train government officials from across the continent on legal issues related to natural resources development, even while, back in London, he led the office’s pro bono committee, helping to expand opportunities for his colleagues.

Office of the Year: Houston – recognizing the office’s work in not only serving clients in a wide range of pro bono matters, including asylum, guardianship and veterans’ rights, but also providing the Houston community with critical pro bono services in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey’s historic devastation.

Practice Group of the Year: Intellectual property – recognizing the IP group’s representation of nonprofits, asylum seekers and veterans, among many others, as, in 2017, it logged a group record high of 180 pro bono hours per attorney, doubling its pace from the previous year.

Pro Bono Transaction/Counseling Matter Team of the Year: the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum team – recognizing the work done on behalf of the Holocaust Museum by a 30-person cross-office team that provided the copyright advice and clearance procurement counsel essential to its new exhibit Americans and the Holocaust.

Pro Bono Litigation Matter Team of the Year: the Bolivia human rights litigation team – recognizing the work of a cross-office 15-member team that worked for more than 10 years to build the case, in collaboration with colleagues from the academic, NGO and law firm worlds, that yielded a jury verdict of $10 million in the first instance of a former head of state facing his accusers and being tried in a U.S. court for human rights abuses (learn more here).

Associate/Staff Attorney of the Year: Annie Banks – recognizing Los Angeles litigation associate and former Pro Bono Scholar Annie Banks and her work defending a client who was facing eviction and leading a week-long trial that succeeded in keeping the client in her home.

Counsel of the Year: Stanley Woodward Jr. – recognizing D.C. litigation counsel Stanley Woodward’s commitment to pro bono, including his leadership in developing the D.C. office’s pro bono housing rights practice, as, in 2017, he led teams of more than 68 lawyers and staff in helping tenants stay in their homes and address housing code violations, securing more than $117,000 in payouts and forgiven rent.

Partner of the Year: Abid Qureshi – recognizing New York financial restructuring partner Abid Qureshi’s leadership in fostering the firm’s relationship with Lawyers Without Borders, developing his knowledge and experience in international rule of law matters through travel to Kenya and Tanzania as part of that organization’s Support Through Trial Advocacy Training program. 

The Diane Streat Award, given to an individual or team of individuals who have made substantial contributions to the pro bono practice: Shawn Whites – recognizing D.C. paralegal Shawn Whites’ dedication to the firm’s LGBT asylum clients, particularly his work coordinating seven Russian asylum cases for four years.

Pro Bono Hall of Fame 2018Frank Reddick – recognizing Los Angeles corporate partner and former L.A. partner in charge Frank Reddick and his work on behalf of the KIPP charter schools in that city, including through chairing the KIPP LA board for years and helping to guide its expansion to 14 public charter schools that educate 6,600 low-income minority students, as well as by representing KIPP LA in several public bond offerings that have allowed KIPP to access millions of dollars in public financing in order to build new schools.

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is a leading international law firm with more than 900 lawyers in offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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