Lawyers Alliance for New York Announces 2019 Cornerstone Awards for Lawyers Providing Superior Pro Bono Service to Nonprofits
New York, NY, October 29, 2019
Lawyers Alliance for New York proudly announces that two leading law firms – Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP and Ropes & Gray LLP – are recipients of the 2019 Cornerstone Awards. These awards, the highest business law pro bono honor in New York, recognize outstanding pro bono legal services to nonprofit organizations that are improving quality of life for low-income New Yorkers. Lawyers Alliance will present this year’s awards at a ceremony on October 30 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Viacom, 1515 Broadway in New York City.
The Cornerstone Award winners also include 11 outstanding individuals selected from more than 2,000 business and transactional lawyers who volunteered through Lawyers Alliance during the past year. In addition, in celebration of Lawyers Alliance’s 50th Anniversary year, long-term volunteers with decades of pro bono service through Lawyers Alliance will be recognized as members of the 10, 15, and 20 Year Circles.
“Lawyers Alliance is pleased to applaud the dedicated attorneys who have donated their expertise to help nonprofits succeed. In our 50th Anniversary year, we are grateful for those who have volunteered with us for decades, as well as those who have just joined us. Together we can provide vital assistance to nonprofits and support their work in our communities,” said Peter M. Labonski, Chair of the Board of Directors of Lawyers Alliance.
This year’s Institutional Cornerstone awardees are:
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, a premier law firm, has a rich history of pro bono excellence. In 2018, Kramer Levin attorneys provided an average of 106 hours per attorney and a total of 30,911 hours of free legal services to assist the disadvantaged and help build a better society. For more than 25 years, the firm has had a remarkable partnership with Lawyers Alliance, consistently stepping up to meet the business and transactional legal needs of nonprofits. While Kramer Levin has always been a reliable partner, its support has been particularly noteworthy in recent years. Over the past five years, Kramer Levin attorneys have provided pro bono assistance through Lawyers Alliance to more than 25 clients on more than 30 different legal projects.
Ropes & Gray LLP, a leading global firm with a strong tradition of public service, has partnered with Lawyers Alliance for more than a decade. In 2018, Ropes & Gray continued its strong pro bono efforts, with nearly 1,700 attorneys, paralegals, summer associates, and other professionals providing more than 156,000 hours of pro bono legal services in total. As Ropes & Gray’s commitment to pro bono has reached new heights, so has its commitment to Lawyers Alliance’s clients. Between 2017 and 2019, the firm accepted more than 25 new matters for Lawyers Alliance clients.
“Lawyers Alliance is pleased to present these two remarkable law firms with Institutional Cornerstone Awards, our most significant pro bono honor, reflecting substantial breadth, depth, quality, and impact of business and transactional law pro bono,” said Elizabeth M. Guggenheimer, Lawyers Alliance’s Executive Director.
This year’s Individual Cornerstone awardees are:
Matthew H. Ahrens and Richard Hillman, Milbank LLP: For providing foundational legal assistance to a solar electricity project in Brooklyn.
Scott L. Bittman, Crowell & Moring LLP: For protecting the valuable intellectual property of seven nonprofits across New York City.
Matt Carter, O’Melveny & Myers LLP: For providing excellent service for more than two years negotiating a merger for a mental health organization on Staten Island.
Kenneth A. Gerasimovich, Greenberg Traurig, LLP: For delivering vital legal assistance to nonprofits supporting small businesses and community arts.
Patricia J. Graves, Goldman Sachs: For expanding pro bono relationships with corporate legal departments and coordinating multiple legal clinics for nonprofits.
Austin Ozawa, Latham & Watkins LLP: For making pro bono service a priority throughout his career and assisting multiple nonprofits with complex projects.
Christopher J. Palmese, Seyfarth Shaw LLP: For offering legal advice on real estate and other business matters on ten different cases over a three year period.
Ira Rosenstein, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP: For building long-term relationships and providing employment law advice to a Bronx social services agency and other nonprofits for more than 20 years.
Aliya Sanders, Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian, LLP: For helping nonprofits offer broader programs by safeguarding their intellectual property.
Marci Settle, Arnold & Porter LLP: For sharing her legal expertise with growing nonprofits on long-term governance and fiscal sponsorship projects.
“Since the inaugural Cornerstone Awards in 1997, only 233 of our 8,500 volunteers have received an Individual Cornerstone Award. These are Lawyers Alliance’s strongest of our strong volunteers,” said Guggenheimer.
For additional details, visit www.lawyersalliance.org/volunteer-recognition.
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Lawyers Alliance for New York is the leading provider of business and transactional legal services for nonprofit organizations and social enterprises that are improving the quality of life in New York City neighborhoods. By connecting lawyers, nonprofits, and communities, Lawyers Alliance for New York helps organizations to develop and provide housing, stimulate economic opportunity, improve urban health and education, promote community arts, and operate and advocate for vital programs that benefit low-income New Yorkers of all ages. During the past year, staff attorneys at Lawyers Alliance worked with more than 2,000 volunteer attorneys to represent more than 700 nonprofit clients on 1,350 matters.
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