Akin Gump Goes Coast to Coast for Annual Pro Bono Awards

(Washington, D.C.) – On July 23, Akin Gump celebrated its annual Pro Bono Awards, selecting the best public interest work done by its attorneys and nonattorneys in the firm’s U.S. offices. 

The firmwide event, presided over by firm chairperson Kim Koopersmith and pro bono partner Steven Schulman, followed office ceremonies held at nine of Akin Gump’s domestic offices.  The individuals, teams and matters recognized at the firmwide ceremonies were:

  • Washington, D.C., as Pro Bono Office of the Year for its work on, among others, a significant voting rights case at the U.S. Supreme Court, the defense of a Marine officer accused of misconduct in Afghanistan and dozens of poverty law matters through the DC Bar
  • the New York litigation group as Pro Bono Practice Group of the Year for, among other representations, its participation in a rotational program with HerJustice (formerly inMotion) serving victims of domestic violence, advocacy for 16 asylum seekers, commencement of an innovative project with Bronx Defenders (see below) and work in advancing antitrafficking legislation in Albany
  • Estela Díaz as Pro Bono Partner of the Year for her leadership of the pro bono partnership with Bronx Defenders as it launched the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project to provide representation of detained immigrants facing deportation
  • Dennis Windscheffel as Pro Bono Counsel of the Year for his multiyear representation in asylum proceedings of a Romanian man suffering from schizophrenia and delusions of grandeur
  • Corey Hinton as Pro Bono Associate of the Year for his representation of the Passamaquoddy Tribe to help protect its treaty fishing rights
  • Cheryle Edmonds (Dallas) and Denise Mankewitz (Los Angeles) as Diane Streat Award winners among nonattorneys for, respectively, support of the Dallas litigation group in two pro bono federal court trials and assistance, including translation and communications coordination, in the case of an abused immigrant woman seeking relief under the Violence Against Women Act
  • the case of DeLeon v. Perry as Litigation Matter of the Year, in which a firmwide team successfully represented two Texas couples fighting that state’s ban on same-sex marriage
  • the closing of a $28.7 million-dollar bond financing transaction for a wholly owned subsidiary of KIPP LA Schools as Transaction/Counseling Matter of the Year, the proceeds to be used to finance land acquisition and school construction for improved educational facilities
  • Mark MacDougall as a Pro Bono Hall of Fame inductee in recognition of his years of work in death penalty defense on behalf of indigent defendants in South Carolina.

In Akin Gump’s Washington, D.C. office, the awards ceremony was bookended by a silent auction that raised over $10,000 for the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, and the Network for Victim Recovery of DC.

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is a leading international law firm with more than 850 attorneys in offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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