Lauren Connell Named Akin Gump Pro Bono Counsel

(New York) – Akin Gump is proud to announce that Lauren Connell has been named the firm’s pro bono counsel, succeeding Fiona Brett, the firm’s first pro bono counsel. Ms. Connell was previously an associate in the firm’s corporate practice.

Ms. Connell first joined the firm as an Akin Gump Pro Bono Scholar in the summer of 2012, working first at the firm on pro bono matters and then at HerJustice, a New York-based legal services organization.  In 2013, Ms. Connell was in the New York office as a summer associate.

Upon graduation from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2014, she began her career as an Akin Gump associate seconded for four months coordinating the Karnes City Immigrant Family Pro Bono Project in Karnes, Texas. The project was created to serve women and children detained after fleeing violence in Central America (learn more here). Her work was featured by The National Law Journal (see here) and The New York Times (see here), among other media outlets, and she was honored by Akin Gump as Pro Bono Associate of the Year in 2016 for her role in coordinating the work of the firm lawyers representing detainees. As part of these efforts, Ms. Connell met with detainees, coordinated with the other nonprofit and academic organizations comprising the Project and helped the women and children released on bond to find temporary shelter with volunteer families in the San Antonio area.

Pro bono partner Steven Schulman said, “Fiona is a fantastic colleague, and her contributions to our firm will be missed. At the same time, I am thrilled to add Lauren, who was mentored by Fiona over the last two years. Lauren’s leadership of the Karnes City Immigrant Family Pro Bono Project demonstrated that she has the skill, commitment and compassion required to help manage and lead a pro bono practice.  Her experience with corporate transactions will also allow us to continue to develop pro bono opportunities for transactional lawyers.  I am very happy to welcome her to full-time pro bono practice.”

Akin Gump chairperson Kim Koopersmith commented, “I am extremely proud of the firm’s commitment to pro bono work. With Steve as our pro bono partner and Lauren as our pro bono counsel, we can continue our unwavering pro bono commitment and our leadership role in the legal community in working to address the many legal obstacles of those most in need. Lauren is an outstanding choice both because of her tremendous aptitude as a lawyer and her intense commitment to pro bono.”

Ms. Connell, who is fluent in Spanish, graduated summa cum laude from the George Washington University in 2009 with a B.A. in International Affairs. She received her J.D. in 2014 from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, with a Certificate in Management from the Wharton School.

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.