2015 Pro Bono Awards
White & Case honors a select group of lawyers and legal staff for their outstanding pro bono achievements each year. These individuals have applied their legal skills and knowledge to make a difference in the lives of individuals, build the rule of law and strengthen non-governmental organizations around the world.
The following White & Case lawyers and legal staff received awards in 2015 for work done in the prior 12 months.
For corporate work on behalf of the Rashid Centre for the Disabled, a humanitarian organization in Dubai that provides education and therapy services to children with special needs.
Dr. Sebastian Prügel
For assisting Jourvie, an organization that supports people with eating disorders through an innovative online food diary, in establishing itself as a nonprofit.
For assisting LEAF, a youth-education and leadership NGO in the Slovak Republic, with guidance on structuring; providing corporate advice to Pontis Foundation, a corporate philanthropy and responsibility NGO; and ongoing work for Gymnazium Novohradska, a high school in Bratislava.
For ongoing efforts on behalf of Gymnazium Novohradska, a high school in Bratislava, and for providing Občianske združenie Ženské Kruhy (Civic Association Women's Circles) with legal analysis of the laws on the rights of pregnant women and those giving birth in health facilities in the Slovak Republic.
For helping an elderly client challenge the attempt by ten Member States comprising the former Western European Union to revoke, ex post facto, the client's redundancy payment that was granted when the Western European Union still existed; and for research on behalf of The Center for Reproductive Rights, a global women's reproductive health and rights NGO.
For exceptional work in leading the defense of an elderly client challenging the attempt by ten Member States comprising the former Western European Union to revoke, ex post facto, the client's redundancy payment that was granted to our client when the Western European Union still existed; and for advising St. Andrew's Church of Scotland on refugee rights.
For leadership of the Pro Bono practice in our Brussels office. Jacquelyn has worked on a variety of matters that include advising St. Andrew's Church of Scotland on refugee rights, handling church governance and relations with local authorities; providing corporate advice on behalf of Operation Fistula, a nonprofit fighting to end obstetric fistula; and researching the application of the EU's Free Movement Directive for The Aire Centre.
For helping an elderly client challenge the attempt by ten Member States comprising the former Western European Union to revoke, ex post facto, the client's redundancy payment that was granted when the Western European Union still existed; and for work on the World Bank's Women, Business and the Law project.
For work advising World Wildlife Fund's European Policy Office on several projects and European-law related questions. Roberta recently advised WWF on questions regarding the “Fitness Check” launched by The Directorate-General for the Environment on the EU Nature Legislation and provided WWF with legal support around this initiative.
For exceptional service in support of the Firm's global Pro Bono practice.
For extensive pro bono contributions on a variety of matters, including research on behalf of the Center for Reproductive Rights, teaching European law at the University of Sarajevo, and researching the legal requirements and process for gender recognition in Macedonia on behalf of Transgender Europe.
Charlotte Van Haute
For work on a global child-rights research project for Child Rights International Network; research on ways to curtail genocide and mass atrocities for the UN Special Adviser to the Secretary General on the Prevention of Genocide; review of various criminal justice systems for Penal Reform International; and research for the American Chamber of Commerce in Hungary's regulatory committee evaluating legislative reform efforts in Hungary.
Charbel Abou Charaf
For helping lead a project on behalf of Union Nacional de Periodistas, an Ecuadorian journalism NGO, analyzing press laws of repressive regimes to inform UNP's reform efforts, and for coordinating pro bono efforts across our Middle East offices.
For assisting Union Nacional de Periodistas, an Ecuadorian journalism NGO, in analyzing press laws of repressive regimes to inform UNP's reform efforts; assisting on a petition submitted to the African Commission on Human and People's Rights on behalf of the Media Legal Defense Initiative; and representing Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International e.V., the Fairtrade umbrella organization, in a dispute with another organization, which was successfully settled in mediation in New York.
Dr. Matthias Stupp
For exceptional leadership of the Pro Bono practice in Hamburg and across Germany, and for significantly expanding the Firm's LGBTI pro bono sub-practice.
For researching the laws establishing criminal-injury compensation schemes for Beijing Zhongze Women's Legal Consulting Services Center, a Chinese women's rights NGO, and for work on behalf of the World Bank's Women, Business and the Law project.
For a sustained commitment to coordinating the pro bono efforts of the Istanbul office.
Göknil Ceylan & Lara Sezerler
For providing extensive corporate and employment law advice to FINCA, a global, nonprofit microfinance institution serving low-income entrepreneurs in developing countries.
Aslı Gülüm, Esra Ogut, Nesli Şen Özçelik and Ayça Yılmaz
For extensive corporate and employment advice to Tohum Autism Foundation, an NGO that serves children with autism.
For work on behalf of Union Nacional de Periodistas, an Ecuadorian journalism NGO, analyzing press laws of repressive regimes to inform UNP's reform efforts.
For advising the Claims Conference on complex bank agreements in Russia and Ukraine, which will allow the German government to process long-delayed reparation payments to Holocaust survivors and Russian POW survivors. Up to 84,000 impoverished individuals are set to benefit from this program.
Michael Doran & Tamara Dyer
For advice on an innovative investment fund guaranteeing a minimum return to investors, sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which supports the delivery and development of drugs, vaccines and diagnostic techniques that might otherwise go unfunded.
For research on the implementation of national dialogues during peace processes and the use of sanctions by regional authorities to promote peace, for use by PILPG stakeholders with an interest in South Sudan's constitutional review, ceasefire and national reconciliation processes.
John Reynolds, Robert Wheal and Rebecca Zaman
For intervening on behalf of Innocence Network UK, JUSTICE and the Criminal Appeal Lawyers Association in the UK Supreme Court, in a case that resulted in the widening of rules on post-conviction disclosure.
For extensive participation in three pro bono matters: Child Rights International Network; Impact Investment Exchange; and the Vance Center's Natural Resource Extraction Guidelines matter.
David Hunt, Hazel Levent, Doris Martinell and Marie-Louise Tiburce
For conducting and coordinating a complex due diligence and document review process for Peace Brigades International on a protected platform that was itself secured on a pro bono basis, in relation to a case against a Nepalese army officer who has been arrested and charged in the UK Criminal Courts with two counts of torture in Nepal.
For extensive pro bono advice to the Kenneth More Theatre in East London and Clare Hall Cambridge, advising on a range of internal legal issues for both organizations.
For advice to Global Dialogue on a complex employment issue in the charity's Turkish branch, for which Sarah collaborated extensively with White & Case's office in Ankara.
For exceptional leadership of the Pro Bono practice in the Los Angeles office. Under Brenda's leadership, all associates in Los Angeles participated in at least one pro bono matter in 2014.
For successful representation of five different sets of parents adopting their foster children. Elliott has been successful in every adoption matter he has undertaken.
Deema Abini, Fernando Aenlle-Rocha, Jonathan Alon, Elliott Dionisio, Scott Eisen, Jonathan Hawk, Earle Miller, Karen Roche, Camber Stoddard and Rebecca Tarneja
For successfully representing the National Charity League in a lawsuit to prevent the unauthorized sale of land on which housing has been provided for the elderly since the 1930s.
For successfully appealing a decision to deny coverage to a couple by their health insurance provider for medical bills incurred by using a non-approved hospital for the birth of their first child. Arash argued that the family was entitled to coverage under both their insurance policy and the Affordable Care Act, the national health plan, as they had sought emergency treatment. As a result, the health insurer was required to reverse its decision and agreed to cover the majority of the couple’s medical expenses.
Beatriz De Los Mozos
For pro bono efforts on a variety of matters for the Center for Reproductive Rights, UpSocial and the Forest Stewardship Council.
Juan Manuel de Remedios
For support, exceptional leadership and supervision of numerous pro bono matters in the Madrid office.
For corporate advice to UpSocial, an NGO implementing programs to improve learning in high schools, and for coordination of the Pro Bono practice in the Madrid office.
For work on behalf of the Forest Stewardship Council, an NGO promoting responsible forest management; research on gender-based violence case law for the Avon Center for Women and Justice; and general corporate advice to Women’s World Banking, a leading microfinance NGO.
International Board on Books for Young People Team
(Antonio Cárdenas, Gerardo Carrasco, Mariana Montemayor-Alba, Andres Mosqueira Perez and Salomón Zonana)
For work on behalf of Asociación para Leer, Escuchar, Escribir y Recrear, A.C., an NGO that promotes reading among children and operates more than 60 public libraries in Mexico. The team defended its client against a State Ministry regarding the wrongful execution of a tax credit, and it required sensitivity and care to demonstrate the errors of the responsible authority without damaging the good relationship between the ministry and the NGO.
For work on a variety of pro bono matters. Sara assisted the Vance Center for International Justice with research and strategic advice on prisoner rights for a case pending before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights; provided general corporate advice to Innovando la Tradición, A.C., a nonprofit that supports Mexican indigenous artisans; and researched the Mexican bail system for Penal Reform International.
José Núñez Heather
For assisting Acumen, the social investment fund, with its investment in Siembra Viva, a company that offers delivery of organic fruits and vegetables from smallholder farmers using organic methods on post-conflict lands to urban households through an e-commerce platform.
Ismael Reyes Retana
For leadership of the Pro Bono practice in the Mexico City office and supervision of a number of pro bono matters.
For arguing before the Florida Supreme Court on behalf of members of the Bar advocating for an increase in member dues as a temporary stopgap for the funding crisis for legal aid services. Since 2008, funds raised from interest on lawyers’ trust accounts—the primary method for funding legal services—has dropped by 88 percent. Raoul argued that while a potential US$100 per member increase in bar dues could not be the only solution, it would alleviate the situation while the state developed a permanent solution for the severe underfunding of legal aid organizations.
For assisting Lambda Legal in filing a federal lawsuit challenging Georgia's ban on same-sex marriage. The suit asked a federal judge in Atlanta to find that the ban, ratified as a constitutional amendment by voters in 2004, denies equal protection to gays and lesbians who want to marry in the state.
For filing an amicus brief on behalf of the Florida Conference of Circuit Judges addressing whether communications within a court about drafting an administrative order are public records and, if so, exempt from disclosure.
Pavel Boulatov & Oleg Volodin
For successfully representing the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany before a court of the first instance in Russia and assisting a former prisoner of a Nazi concentration camp in gathering proof of his imprisonment in order to have his benefit payments reinstated.
Daria Vasilieva & Anton Vasin
For assisting Olympic athletes with the resolution of legal disputes that arose during the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi. The work undertaken by the team was recognized by officials of the International Olympic Committee and enabled arbitrators from The Court of Arbitration for Sport to ensure better and quicker case management under severe time pressure.
Tobias von Tucher
For leadership of the Pro Bono practice in our Munich office and across Germany.
For exceptional representation of his client on the appeal of a criminal conviction to New York's Appellate Division, Second Department. Kevin's appellate briefs and argument were lauded by the appeals court.
Ashley Blakely & Colin West
For ongoing representation and defense of The Salvation Army in a complex federal lawsuit regarding access to translation services in a New York City shelter.
For work on numerous pro bono matters and translation support on behalf of our Spanish-speaking pro bono clients.
Katherine Draper, Anastasiya Lisovskaya and Alice Tsier
For exceptional pro bono service on behalf of the Center for Reproductive Rights. Katherine managed the Center's “Bringing Rights to Bear” project, which involved compiling a database of reproductive and human rights legal resources and articles published by UN treaty bodies, which the Center then uses for its advocacy work. Anastasiya assisted in tracking and reviewing submissions from NGOs to UN treaty-monitoring bodies and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding reproductive rights, and then provided observations, general comments and recommendations. Alice researched conscientious objection in various jurisdictions, drafted a memo on adolescent consent, and researched and helped draft a paper on reproductive rights issues in Kenya.
For work on behalf of human rights NGO Asistencia Legal para la Diversidad Sexual de El Salvador to prepare a comparative analysis of anti-discrimination and hate-crime legislation throughout Latin America and the United States aimed at improving the dangerous social climate for LGBTI individuals in El Salvador. Brandon traveled to El Salvador to brief government officials and assess support among political leaders for anti-discrimination legislation, and he presented our research at a major LGBTI rights conference in El Salvador.
For support of the global Pro Bono practice in the New York office, leading the Firm's relationship with The Legal Aid Society of New York and taking on an amicus brief to the New York Court of Appeals for Legal Aid.
Human Trafficking Defense Team
(Gayle Argon, Danielle Audette, Lindsay Heck, Warren Klinger, Gregory Little, Elzbieta Matthews, Tara Opalinski and Ian Silverbrand)
For ongoing efforts representing two clients who were trafficked to the United States from Ukraine and forced to work as strippers at a club in Detroit. The team brought a lawsuit not only against the traffickers, but also against the strip club where our clients were forced to work and against others who facilitated their exploitation.
Anastasiya Lisovskaya & Leon Miniovich
For securing an interim victory on behalf of their nearly blind client whose husband had her sign divorce papers that she could not see, resulting in a Housing Court order to evict her from the family apartment. Anastasiya and Leon worked under severe time pressure to stay the eviction and won the right to a hearing.
New York Education Funding Team
(Neil Bhargava, Ashley Blakely, Walter Ciacci, Joshua Elmore, Dominique Forrest, Laura Garr, Lindsay Heck, Lynn Kaiser, Warren Klinger, Gregory Little, Jason Pham and Christopher Volpe)
For outstanding work with the Education Law Center in bringing an impact-litigation case against the State of New York on behalf of eight small cities in upstate New York, demanding enhanced educational funding from the state for low-income children. Education advocates have advised that a successful verdict in this lengthy trial in New York Supreme Court could significantly increase school aid for the eight struggling districts, all with high poverty rates. The decision is expected in the near future.
For leadership and support of the global Pro Bono practice in the New York office and service on behalf of Her Justice, a leading women's rights organization in New York.
For leadership of the global Pro Bono practice, supervision of numerous pro bono matters and development of the Firm's genocide prevention sub-practice. Owen has partnered with Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation on a variety of cutting-edge genocide prevention matters, and led a global project to create a Holocaust restitution database on behalf of the European Shoah Legacy Institute.
For obtaining a “prosecutorial discretion” ruling and administrative closure on behalf of her client, an Ecuadorian man under threat of deportation.
For exceptional and extensive work on a variety of criminal law, family law, women's rights and LGBT rights pro bono matters.
For developing and coordinating an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court arguing in favor of same-sex marriage. Harold organized a large team of associates across our US offices to work on the innovative brief that included a 50-state survey of how US states have created a bundle of benefits, protections and presumptions in favor of those deemed “married” under state law.
Jacques Bouillon & Olivier Le Bars
For assisting La Chaîne de l'Espoir, a French NGO that provides financing for much-needed surgery for underprivileged children, to determine a legal framework appropriate for the conception and construction of a maternity hospital in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
Julian Coat & Claire de Haut de Sigy
For work on behalf of the Open Society Justice Initiative. Julian and Claire drafted a memorandum that provides a review of relevant laws in France on citizens' rights with respect to filming and publicizing via social media alleged incidents of police brutality.
Damien Nyer (New York), Christophe Von Krause and Sarah Vieux
For work on behalf of International Senior Lawyers' Project and the Chambre de Conciliation et d'Arbitrage d'Haiti, a Haitian arbitration institution. Christophe, Damien and Sarah prepared and delivered a two-and-a-half-day training seminar in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on international arbitration for Haitian judges alongside French Court of Cassation Judge Dominique Hascher.
Elizabeth Montpetit, Hinda Rabkin and Sonja Duennwald (Frankfurt)
For work on behalf of the Media Legal Defense Initiative on a petition submitted to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights on behalf of two journalists who have been sentenced to long prison terms based on terrorism and criminal related charges. The team is seeking a ruling that the journalists' imprisonment is a breach of human rights, in particular the right to free speech.
Marek Dosedel & Filip Gvozdek
For pro bono service on behalf of Post Bellum, an NGO that documents memories of witnesses of historic events of the 20th century and that tries to pass these stories on to the broader public.
For providing IP, corporate and contract assistance on a documentary film project about the Terezin ghetto and concentration camp; providing Ashoka, a global network of social entrepreneurs, with general legal support in the Czech Republic; and giving legal support to SOS Children's Villages.
For researching case law on gender-based violence for the Avon Center for Women and Justice and for researching laws relating to bail in criminal justice systems on behalf of the Penal Reform Initiative.
Ying Da Guan
For drafting a memo on behalf of the Advocacy and Policy Institute that summarized key provisions of freedom of information laws in China to inform efforts to implement new freedom-of-information laws in Cambodia; and for advising Acumen on its proposed activities in China and on China's NGO regulations.
For translation support on numerous pro bono matters on behalf of our Spanish-speaking clients.
For providing legal advice to several pro bono clients, including Global Network Initiative, Science Friday Initiative, SOS Children's Villages and for coordinating our pro bono efforts in the Silicon Valley office.
For assisting several juvenile immigration clients from Central and South America.
David Gartside & Steve Payne
For the development of workshops with Johns Hopkins University at its International Center for Excellence at Yangon University (ICOE) for senior government officials on public-private partnerships in the power and infrastructure sectors. Steve and David also partnered with ICOE to open an e-library for the Center.
Yu Babasaki, Jake Baccari, Tony Nicholson and Akira Shimazaki
For advising Australia for Dolphins, a dolphin-protection and conservation NGO. The team supported the organization's efforts to end the annual Taiji dolphin hunt by advising on Japan's anti-cruelty legislation and court procedures.
Gojo Microfinance Team
(Mangyo Kinoshita, Eric Kosinski, Aoi Koyanagi, Eric Marcks, Eiichi Nagai and Yoko Saito)
For work on behalf of Gojo & Company Inc., a Japanese social enterprise that seeks to reduce poverty in Asia by increasing access to microfinancing. The team advised Gojo on its maiden project: a US$400,000 investment in a Cambodian microfinance institution. This was the first-ever equity investment by a Japanese company in a non-Japanese microfinance institution.
Tim Jeffares & Tony Nicholson
For advising Conservation International on a debt-for-nature swap between the government of Indonesia, the US government and KEHATI, an Indonesian NGO. The swap involved the reduction of certain debt owed by Indonesia to the United States in exchange for Indonesia agreeing to pay an equivalent amount into a fund to increase support for conservation of the critically endangered Sumatran Rhino and its habitat.
Ewa Fabian & Sebastian Pabian
For extensive pro bono advice to the National Museum in Warsaw, to Fundacja Tuwima, and for conducting legal research on civil disobedience for a project on behalf of the Helsinki Citizen's Assembly.
For corporate work on behalf of the National Museum in Warsaw and for representing two immigrant Kazakh families to annul the tax due for the apartments they received as part of their settlement in Poland.
For work on behalf of the National Museum in Warsaw, for Fundacja Polskiej Sztuki, and for conducting legal research on civil disobedience for a project on behalf of the Helsinki Citizen's Assembly.
For work on behalf of the Kościuszko Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting educational and cultural exchanges between the United States and Poland, and for assisting the Zacheta Art Gallery and Fundacja Polskiej Sztuki.
Asylum Defense Team
(Fatima Alexander, Anthony Bestafka-Cruz, Jonathan C. Black, Patricia Blumenthal, David R. Courchaine, John Dalebroux, Anna Driggers, Hadia Hakim, Holly Letourneau, Jessica Lynd, McCoy Pitt, Hilde Preston and Onur Saka)
For continued commitment to pro bono asylum work and the successful asylum practice the team has developed in our Washington, DC office. This team of lawyers has represented six individuals fleeing persecution in their home countries due to the threat of gang or domestic violence, their sexual orientation or political beliefs.
Chauncey Bratt, Eric Chung & Jennifer Ivers
For ongoing representation of a Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi in defending an action seeking to prevent him from operating a university student outreach program. The case has evolved from an employment-law case to a case of first impression and also one of First Amendment religious freedom.
Chauncey Bratt & Darien Salehy
For representing twin orphans from Russia, one of whom has autism, in appealing the Social Security Administration's denial of their applications for Social Security numbers. Chauncey and Darien ultimately succeeded in obtaining Social Security numbers for the Russian twins.
For successfully representing a transgender client in obtaining her Green Card and gaining legal recognition as a female.
Global Child Rights Research Project Team
(Aissatou Bah (Paris), Jeffrey Cohan (New York), Elliott Dionisio (Los Angeles), Isabelle Toure Farah (Paris), Sara Green (Johannesburg), Mark Gustafson (Los Angeles), Amanda Murphy (New York), Maria Irene Perruccio (Paris), Karl Pires (Tokyo) and Marina Rodina (Moscow))
For substantial contributions to a global child-rights research project for Child Rights International Network. These colleagues' contributions stood out from among those of the more than 230 White & Case lawyers and legal staff in 32 offices who researched the legal regimes in 172 countries to create a global database profiling the legal framework for children's rights in each country and its relationship to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Human Trafficking Defense Team
(Jacqueline Argueta (Washington, DC), John Dalebroux (Washington, DC), Nicolle Kownacki (Washington, DC), Isabella Bellera Landa (Washington, DC), Amara Levy-Moore (Los Angeles) and Camber Stoddard (Los Angeles))
For ongoing representation of a sex-trafficking victim in applying for a T-Visa. The team guided their client in cooperating with the US Attorney's Office and connected her to a public defender to contest a misdemeanor prostitution charge that could affect her immigration status. While the case is ongoing, the team's client was awarded more than US$45,000 in restitution from her trafficker, who was sentenced to seven years in prison.
Marathon Runner Defense Team
(Piotr Bytnerowicz (Warsaw), Ewa Fabian (Warsaw), Sebastian Pabian (Warsaw) and Alexandra Rogers (Brussels))
For representing a Polish marathon runner before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne concerning her disqualification from competition for two years for an alleged doping infringement in a marathon in Cologne. This team obtained a judgment for the athlete that confirmed that she “is not a cheater and exhibited no intention to violate any rule.”
United Nations Genocide Prevention Team
(Katarzyna Czapraka (Brussels), Marika Harjula (Brussels), David Hartridge (Geneva), Ron Kendler (Geneva), Peter Moran (New York), Mark Powell (Brussels) and Charlotte Van Haute (Brussels))
For drafting a report to the UN Special Adviser to the Secretary General on the Prevention of Genocide addressing how state laws may affect companies attempting to assist in genocide prevention. The report provided a basis for the Adviser to conduct discussions with the United States and the EU on potential guidelines under which (i) countries might encourage companies to boycott certain countries or businesses having a link to potential or actual genocide or mass atrocity crimes, or (ii) companies might group together to conduct such boycotts.
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