A hat trick for Pro Bono

We earned three pro bono awards on three consecutive days in October.

Pro Bono Partnership Champion Award

This organization's annual gala celebrates the culture of pro bono, honoring distinguished leaders that demonstrate a deep commitment and strong passion for pro bono legal services. We have a long history of working with Pro Bono Partnership to strengthen nonprofits in New York and the surrounding areas so they can better serve their communities.

We work to enhance organizations that support immigrants, the elderly, and survivors of domestic violence, among others. When the New York Nonprofit Revitalization Act took effect in 2014, we reviewed and revised nonprofit bylaws and corporate governance policies through Pro Bono Partnership. Our work helped prevent lapses in education, social services, and community advocacy that would have adversely affected some of our most vulnerable populations.

The award ceremony was held in Manhattan on 18 October. Two of our firm alumni, Steve Edwards and Rady Johnson, were also featured in the program.  Steve was honored individually, in part for his pro bono work while a partner at Hogan Lovells. Rady, who serves as Pfizer's Executive Vice President and Chief Compliance and Risk Officer, accepted the corporate award on behalf of our client.

Sanctuary for Families Above & Beyond Award

Honorees are singled out for going "above and beyond" in providing outstanding pro bono representation and advocacy to victims of domestic violence, sex trafficking, and related forms of gender violence.

We were selected for our role in seeking justice for a domestic violence victim who had been ordered to pay her abusive husband almost US$300,000 in an international child custody dispute. The woman was a Malaysian national who left Singapore with her son in 2012, alleging that her husband abused and sexually assaulted her. The husband petitioned in New York for the return of their son, and eventually was awarded a large sum of money in connection with the case. With our help, she appealed the decision and the award was vacated.

We accepted the award at the gala in Manhattan on 19 October.

CAIR Coalition's Law Firm of the Year Award

In the past year, our Washington, D.C. office has taken on numerous pro bono cases on referral from CAIR Coalition's Detained Adult Program and Detained Children's Program. We're working to fight the impact of deportation and detention of noncitizen girls and women.

CAIR Coalition is one of our Empowering Girls and Women Initiative partners, and we highlighted the story of just one of our CAIR clients in our annual report earlier this year: the story of a 17-year-old who arrived at the Texas border with a toddler son in her arms. Her brother-in-law had refused to do favors for one of the local gangs in Guatemala, and his integrity put the entire family in danger. The girl and her child were threatened, and she spent two weeks running, hiding, and trusting strangers to take her across borders while protecting her 1-year-old boy.

We worked with CAIR to find the best avenue of relief for the pair after they were detained by U.S. customs agents. Thanks to our efforts, the mother and son were granted asylum in August.

We accepted the CAIR award in Washington, D.C. on 20 October.

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