Annual Awards Reception
Save the date!
Our 2013 Awards Reception will be held on Wednesday, December 4, at 6:30 pm.
More info to come!
Our 2012 Awards Reception featured keynote speaker Harold Koh. We were proud to recognize James Sandman, President of the Legal Services Corporation as our Presidents' Award Recipient, SNR Denton LLP as our Law Firm Award Recipient, and Ed Eliasberg, Department of Justice, as our Outstanding Government Pro Bono Lawyer. Click here to learn more about our fabulous 2012 awards recipients.
On Wednesday, November 2, 2011 the Council celebrated 40 years of service at its 40th Anniversary "Past as Prologue" Awards Reception, held in the Paul Porter room of Arnold & Porter LLP. We congratulate our award recipients, Walter A. Smith, Jr., of DC Appleseed, who received the Presidents' Award, Karen Shimp, of the Securities and Exchange Commission, who received the Government Pro Bono Service Award, Hogan Lovells (US) LLP, Law Firm Contribution Award Recipient, and Arnold & Porter LLP, recipient of a Lifetime Contribution Award.
The evening concluded with a Past as Prologue Panel featuring moderator Nicole Austin-Hillery, and a distinguished panel:
Roderic V.O. Boggs, Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights & Urban Affairs
Katherine Garrett, DC Bar Foundation
Joy Moses, Center for American Progress
Paul Smith, Jenner & Block LLP
Patricia Wald, former Chief Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
We are grateful to have reached our fundraising goal of raising $40,000 for 40 years of service. Thank you to our sponsors!
Arnold & Porter LLP
Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Covington & Burling LLP
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
Sidley Austin LLP
SNR Denton LLP
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Arent Fox LLP
Crowell & Moring LLP
Goodwin Procter LLP
Hunton & Williams LLP
Husch Blackwell Sanders LLP
Jenner & Block LLP
McDermott Will & Emery LLP
Steptoe & Johnson LLP
Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP
We also are grateful for the opportunity to reconnect with many of our founders and past Presidents. Thank you to these individuals who contributed to our Founders and Presidents Pledge!
Taryn Wilgus Null
OnTuesday, December 7, 2010 the Council held its annual awards reception in the Garden Room of Arnold & Porter LLP, 555 12th Street NW. We were honored to have Dean William Treanor of Georgetown University Law Center as our keynote speaker. Congratulations to award recipients DLA Piper, John Warshawsky, and Maureen Thornton Syracuse. Thank you to Tony West, the Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division, US Department of Justice, for presenting the Outstanding Government Pro Bono Award.
Many Thanks to Our Sponsors
The Council could not continue to provide high quality programs and advocacy in support of pro bono and public interest law
without the financial support of our Awards Reception donors.
BENEFACTORS Arnold & Porter LLP Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP Hogan Lovells LLP Hunton & Williams LLP FRIENDS Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld LLP Alston & Bird LLP Arent Fox LLP Covington & Burling LLP DLA Piper LLP Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP Georgetown University Law Center Husch Blackwell LLP Jenner & Block LLP Kirkland & Ellis LLP McDermott Will & Emery Sidley Austin LLP DONORS American University Washington College of Law
On Thursday, November 12, 2009 , the Council held its annual awards reception in the Garden Room of Arnold & Porter LLP. We were honored to have Professor Peter Edelman of Georgetown University Law Center as our keynote speaker and Assistant Attorney General, Tom Perez , introduce our Government Pro Bono Award recipient.
View the event flyer for more information.
On Thursday, November 13, the Council held its annual awards reception in the Garden Room of the offices of Arnold & Porter LLP. This year's reception was generously supported by many DC-area individuals and law firms, including:
This year's Presidents' Award was presented to Katia Garrett, Executive Director of the DC Bar Foundation, in recognition of her tireless efforts to expand legal services for low-income DC residents. Most recently, as Executive Director of the DC Bar Foundation, Katia initiated the Loan Repayment Assistance Program, opening up public interest careers that might not have been possible to many new lawyers. In conjunction with the DC Access to Justice Commission, Katia implemented extensive outreach to DC communities to identify areas of greatest need. Her long history of public service includes, among other things, efforts to reduce the gender, racial, and ethnic bias in our courts and improve the public response to victims of domestic violence.
Paul Kendall, Senior Counsel with USDOJ Federal Bureau of Prisons, was the 2008 recipient of the Government Pro Bono Award. Paul has a long history of pro bono service and his commitment stands out, most recently in his efforts to protect a low-income woman from losing her home in a highly complex foreclosure case. After two and a half years of twists and turns, including late-night drives and all-night emergency motion drafting, he has prevented foreclosure and continues to work to protect his client's interests. Taking his experiences and service even further, Paul actively encourages other lawyers to take pro bono cases as well.
Hunton & Williams LLP was the law firm honoree this year in recognition of the firm's staunch and reliable support of the Council's activities. Besides donating at the Council’s highest level, the firm hosts luncheons for our mentorship program, helping our new and experienced public interest lawyers network and learn from each other. Hunton & Williams also supports the dedicated efforts of WCL Board Member, James Rubin, one of the firm's senior attorneys. Many thanks!
Elisa Massimino, CEO and Executive Director of Human Rights First, was the keynote speaker for this year's annual awards reception. Elisa inspired us all with her description of the choices we make as lawyers and the amazing impact we can have on the lives of DC's low-income residents.
On Wednesday, November 28, the Council held its annual awards reception in the Garden Room of the offices of Arnold & Porter, LLP. This year's reception was generously supported by many area individuals and law firms, including:
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Arnold & Porter, LLP
Crowell & Moring, LLP
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, LLP
Hogan & Hartson, LLP
Hunton & Williams, LLP
American University Washington College of Law
Blackwell Sanders, LLP
Goodwin Procter, LLP
Jenner & Block, LLP
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP
Mehri & Skalet, PLLC
Sidley Austin, LLP
Steptoe & Johnson, LLP
This year's Presidents' Award was presented to Daniel Bruner, Director of Legal Services,Whitman-Walker Clinic, in recognition of his tireless advocacy for the HIV-positive and Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender communities. Since becoming Director of Legal Services in 2004, Dan has worked diligently to ensure the long-term growth and stability of WWCLS, has strengthened the pro bono program, and supported the staff's ongoing work on behalf of their individual clients and Whitman-Walker's client communities. Under Dan's leadership, the WWCLS staff has increased in size by almost 75% and fundraising efforts have reached their highest levels, resulting in more clients being served this past year than ever before. Dan is a nationally prominent expert on HIV/AIDS law, particularly in the fields of employment discrimination, insurance coverage and medical privacy, and his co-authorship of several amicus briefs has led to national recognition for the program as a whole.
James Yoon, an attorney with the Department of Justice Antitrust Division, was the 2007 recipient of the Government Pro Bono Award. James has completed many hours of pro bono service including clinic work, direct representation and dedicated support of the DOJ Pro Bono Program. His pro bono efforts have steadily expanded since his initial volunteer efforts at Cornell Law School. Since 2004, James has taken on direct representation of a pro bono case each year. He has also been an active recruiter for the DOJ Pro Bono Program, encouraging his colleagues to commit to pro bono work.
Crowell & Moring LLP was the law firm honoree this year in recognition of the firm's staunch and reliable support of the Council's activities. The firm consistently has members on the Council's board of directors who actively contribute to Council programming. The firm also regularly hosts WCL events and provides meeting spaces for trainings and committee work. The Council gives special thanks to Susan Hoffman and Anne-Marie Cashman for their diligent efforts on behalf of WCL.
Professor David D. Cole of Georgetown University Law Center was the keynote speaker for this year's annual awards reception. David is the author of Less Safe, Less Free and spoke eloquently, movingly, and entertainingly about the degradation of the rule of law in the United States since the War on Terror began.
On Tuesday, November 28, the Council held a special celebration: not only did the Council present its annual Awards, it also celebrated its 35th Anniversary. The reception will be held in the Paul Porter Room at Arnold & Porter.
This year's Presidents' Award was presented to Jonathan Smith, Executive Director, Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia in recognition of his many, significant contributions to the public interest community. Mr. Smith not only heads DC's oldest legal services organization, he also was a driving force behind the DC Access to Justice Commission and the Consortium of Legal Services Providers, which he chaired for two terms. His imprint can be found throughout the region: his efforts on behalf of prisoners, low-wage workers, indigent tenants, migrant farmworkers and others have made a palpable difference in the lives of thousands.
Mark Pletcher, an attorney with the Department of Justice Antitrust Division, was the 2006 recipient of the Government Pro Bono Award. A regular volunteer attorney at the DC Bar's Advice & Referral Clinic, Mr. Pletcher has been involved in all aspects of the Department's Pro Bono Program. From handling challenging pro bono cases requiring substantial initiative and competence to mentoring DOJ attorneys in their pro bono work and "enlisting" others to volunteer, to speaking on the government's behalf on the importance of pro bono work, Mr. Pletcher has firmly established his commitment to pro bono work. He serves as an example to all government attorneys and is proof that pro bono service and government employment are not mutually exclusive terms.
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and staff of its AG Design group earned the Council’s gratitude and rave reviews for AG Design's work on the Council’s newsletter. What started with a few modest requests for changes led, at AG Design's initiation, to a professional, full-color publication that not only captures the eye, but invites people to read and learn about the Council’s activities. The Council is the fortunate beneficiary of Akin Gump's generosity and AG Design's creativity, and for properly earned the Council's Law Firm Award.
WCL founder and Honorary Board member Rod Boggs was the entertaining and affable Master of Ceremonies. He was followed by Elliot Mincberg, also an important Council figure, who moderated a thought-provoking panel consisting of Joe Onek, Lisa Graves and John Nields. A panel discussion at a celebration? Yes, what an appropriate way for the ever-thoughtful Council to observe its anniversary!
The Council held its 2005 Annual Awards Reception on December 1 in The Garden Room of Arnold & Porter. Marcia Greenberger, Co-President of the National Women's Law Center and an active participant in the Supreme Court nominations process, was the keynote speaker.
This year's Presidents' Award was presented to Nkechi Taifa, a senior policy analyst for The Open Society Institute and its Policy Center, where she focuses on issues involving criminal and civil justice. Ms. Taifa's remarkable career includes serving as director of the Equal Justice Program at Howard University School of Law, where she remains a member of its adjunct faculty, legislative counsel for the ACLU, policy counsel for the National Women's Legal Defense Fund, and an attorney for the National Prison Project. Ms. Taifa has been a catalyst in raising the visibililty of issues involving unequal justice in the United States, testifying and writing on such issues as sentencing, law enforcement and prison reforms. Angela Davis, a professor of law at the American University Washington College of Law, presented Ms. Taifa with the award before a sizable contingent of Ms. Taifa's family.
The Government Pro Bono Award was given to Julie Abbate, an attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Prior to coming to Justice, Ms. Abbate worked for the Neighborhood Legal Services, where she gained expertise in areas of poverty law. Now with the Federal government, Ms. Abbate has chosen to work part-time so she can use the remainder of her time to do pro bono work. Her pro bono activities include active participation in the DC Bar's Advice & Referral Clinic and the DC Superior Court's Landlord-Tenant Resource Center and Family Court Self-Help Center. Ms. Abbate also assists the DOJ Pro Bono Program and mentors other DOJ attorneys doing pro bono work. D.C Bar President John Crudden, himself a DOJ attorney, presented the award to Ms. Abbate.
The Council also honored the law firm of Arnold & Porter LLP, recognizing firm employees who have played particularly significant roles in enabling the Council to continue its work. D.C. Bar-Elect and former A & P managing partnerJames Sandman eloquently accepted the award on the firm's behalf, also recognizing firm staff members who were present.
The Council held its 2004 Annual Awards Reception on November 17th. The Keynote Speaker at this networking reception was Theodore M. Shaw, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. Mr. Shaw spoke eloquently about the importance of a public service commitment by lawyers in all sectors -- through full time public interest work, as a government attorney, or as a law firm lawyer doing pro bono work. Mr. Shaw's remarks culminated an evening in which the Council recognized such public service commitments with several awards.The Council presented its 2004 Presidents' Award to Jan Allen May, Director of AARP Legal Counsel for the Elderly, for work that exemplifies the values of pro bono and public service that the Washington Council of Lawyers seeks to promote. Jan May joined LCE in 1977 as the organization's only staff attorney. Under his leadership, the organization has grown to be the primary provider of legal services to older people in the District of Columbia, and now handles approximately 7,000 cases annually.The Council's 2004 Government Pro Bono Award, was presented to Laura Klein, Pro Bono Program Manager for the U.S. Department of Justice. Laura Klein has served as Pro Bono Manager for the Department of Justice since April 2002. She has enabled the Department of Justice to maintain its strong pro bono program, which was created in 1996, and has expanded the program and initiated numerous improvements. These include a "Pro Bono Road Show" to encourage other federal agencies to develop pro bono programs and a mentor network at the Justice Department to link new DOJ pro bono attorneys with experienced DOJ pro bono attorneys.
Finally, the Council honored the law firms of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, whose generous contributions have enabled the Council to continue its work in the public interest.
On November 5, 2003, the Council held its 2003 ANNUAL AWARDS RECEPTION. Keynote Speaker Wade Henderson delivered an inspiring address focusing on his work with the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and the work of the Council. The reception also featured several awards presented by the Council.
The Council presented its President's Award to Paula Scott, whose work with the Public Defender Service and Neighborhood Legal Services exemplifies the values of pro bono and public service that the Washington Council of Lawyers seeks to promote.
In addition, the Council inaugurated its Government Pro Bono Award, with awards to the Department of Transportation Pro Bono Services Committee and to Claire McGuire, Counsel, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in recognition of invaluable pro bono work performed by government attorneys. Finally, the Council presented its Law Firm Award to Jenner & Block, in recognition of its pro bono program and its contributions to the Council.
On November 6, 2002, the Washington Council of Lawyers held its 2002 Annual Awards Reception. The event was held in the lovely Garden Room at Arnold & Porter, and the program was presented to a standing room only crowd.The Council presented its Presidents' Award to Virginia Sloan, Executive Director of the Constitution Project. Ginny was honored for her work which exemplifies the values of pro bono and public service that the Washington Council of Lawyers seeks to promote. In addition, the Council honored three law firms, Arnold & Porter; Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson; and Heller, Huron, Chertkof, Lerner, Simon & Salzman, for contributions to the Washington Council of Lawyers and strong commitments to pro bono representation.
John Podesta, Visiting Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center and Former Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton, gave a wonderfully entertaining and inspirational keynote address. Podesta recounted some of his recollections of his tenure in the White House, spoke of the importance of public service, and shared some of his experiences working with honoree Ginny Sloan. The Council was also honored to have Representative Don Edwards, present moving remarks about Honoree Ginny Sloan, and assist Board Member Julia Sullivan in presenting the Presidents' Award.
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