Proskauer honored its lawyers and staff who have made significant contributions to the Firm’s pro bono and corporate social responsibility programs this year at its 11th Annual Golden Gavel Awards ceremony on January 22. The following is a list of recipients alphabetically by project.
Protecting Voting Rights
These attorneys and paralegals ensured that a team of more than 150 volunteers from Proskauer and partnering corporate clients would be ready and able to answer nearly 2,000 calls over two days from voters in five states during the 2018 mid-term elections. This effort was part of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law non-partisan “Election Protection” hotline program, which strives to ensure that all U.S. citizens can exercise their right to vote.
Luke Dechiario – New York, Project Assistant
Seth Fiur – New York, Associate
Yomarie Habenicht – New York, Associate
Elle Infante – New York, Project Assistant
Eliot Johnson – New York, Project Assistant
Shelina Kurwa – New York, Associate
Jason Madden – New York, Associate
Annabel Pollioni – Newark, Associate
Elliot Stevens – New York, Associate
Alex Volpicello – New York, Project Assistant
Helping Students Succeed
In the 2017-2018 school year, 176 Proskauer volunteers mentored 80 students, led 37 enrichment workshops, and dedicated more than 400 hours to volunteering through the Firm’s Adopt-a-School program. This program focuses on career and college readiness and helps students build the skills needed to graduate high school and succeed in college. In particular, these five volunteers went above and beyond this past year:
Advocating for Survivors of Human Trafficking and Sexual Violence
Our Paris office has distinguished itself through outstanding pro bono service. Two teams from Paris were honored this year.
The Scelles Foundation: The Scelles Foundation has been fighting against prostitution and on behalf of human trafficking victims for 25 years. In 2016, the Foundation decided to intervene in criminal proceedings against sex traffickers to protect the interests of victims. Partners Cédric Jacquelet and Ana Vermal, and associates Johan Bernoville and Marine Roussel, have represented the Foundation in these criminal cases. The team achieved a great victory for the Foundation in securing a substantial damages award in one case against an international trafficking network based in Nigeria, a rare outcome in criminal cases.
Loba: This team has performed extraordinary legal work for Loba, a nonprofit organization that helps victims of sexual violence through an innovative combination of dance, meditation and discussion. Loba’s flagship project, called “Re-Creation,” involves a collaboration with Dr. Denis Mukwege, who received the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in helping women who have been victims of sexual exploitation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Partner Delia Spitzer, Special International Corporate Counsel Stéphanie Martinier, and associates Doriane Shannon and Mathilde Pepin have provided advice on a variety of topics including corporate governance, contracts, intellectual property, and employment law.
Protecting Immigrants’ Rights
Approximately 25% of Proskauer’s pro bono docket is immigration-related. The following teams were honored for successful efforts on behalf of clients who had been persecuted for their sexual orientation and HIV status; who were forced to undergo female genital mutilation (“FGM”); who were facing forced marriage; or who were escaping horrific physical and sexual abuse and neglect endured throughout their childhood:
Immigration Equality – Asylum Team 1:
Kristen Campana – New York, Partner
Laura Franks – New York, Associate
Peter Martin – New York, Associate
Jose Medina – New York, Associate
Andrew Santana – New York, Associate
Lawrence Silvestro – New York, Senior Paralegal
Eamon Wizner – New York, Paralegal
New York Legal Assistance Group – Asylum Team 2:
Catholic Charities-Archdiocese of New Orleans – Asylum Team 3:
Immigration Equality – Asylum Team 4:
Kids in Need of Defense – Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Team:
Class Action Amicus Brief for Immigrant Children
This team drafted and filed an amicus brief representing more than 20 family law professors in a federal class action filed by The Legal Aid Society on behalf of thousands of immigrant youth. The case challenges a new policy of U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) that has led to mass denials of applications for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status filed by children between the ages of 18 and 21 years old who were abused, abandoned, or neglected by one or both of their parents. The amicus brief argues that, despite USCIS’s assertion to the contrary, the New York State Family Court does in fact have jurisdiction over minors ages 18 to 21 for purposes of making the prerequisite findings for a Special Immigrant Juvenile Status application to USCIS.
Public Service All-Stars
These individuals have been all-around champions of pro bono and CSR causes and have given generously of their time and talent in supporting the Firm’s public service efforts. They have demonstrated leadership in spearheading CSR initiatives, perseverance in tackling difficult pro bono cases, and compassion in caring for the most vulnerable clients.
Nathan Brown – Boca Raton, Senior Counsel
Zachary Chalett – New York, Associate
Colleen Hart – Los Angeles, Partner
Amanda Johnson – New York, Associate
Erin Meyer – New York, Pro Bono Counsel
Daniel Ornstein – London, Partner
Jennifer Tarr – New York, Associate