Arent Fox Announces 2012 Pro Bono Award Winners
Washington, DC – On November 28, 2012, Arent Fox LLP announced the recipients of the firm’s Albert E. Arent and Marc L. Fleischaker Pro Bono Awards, presented annually to lawyers and paralegals who demonstrate outstanding contributions to public service.
“These awards are a way to spotlight hard work and great achievement,” said Chairman Mark M. Katz. “They also serve as a reminder of the firm’s continued commitment to pro bono efforts that stretches back more than 60 years.”
A reception was held in Arent Fox’s Los Angeles, New York, and Washington DC offices to announce that partners Terree A. Bowers (Los Angeles), Connie A. Raffa (New York), and Barbara S. Wahl (Washington) received the Marc L. Fleischaker Award for notable work by partners and counsel.
The Albert E. Arent Award for outstanding pro bono achievement by associates and paralegals went to associates Alison Lima Andersen (Washington), Lauren Tabak Fass (New York), Temitope K. Yusuf (New York) and senior paralegal Ngoc Niblack (Washington).
Ms. Wahl, Ms. Dunne, Ms. Andersen, and Ms. Niblack represented women farmers who were entitled to, but discriminatorily denied, farm loans made to male neighbors by the US Department of Agriculture. The case Rosemary Love, et al. v. Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture was filed in federal district court in Washington, DC in October 2000, two days before the statute of limitations expired on claims against USDA for discrimination in the way it administered its farm loan programs dating back to the 1980s. Due to the persistence of this team and others at Arent Fox, the USDA launched in September a claims process for women and Hispanic farmers, committing approximately $1.33 billion. Awards will be paid out of the Judgment Fund administered by the Justice Department.
Ms. Raffa, Ms. Fass, and Ms. Yusuf were recognized for their work after joining with pro bono legal service providers Appleseed Foundation and NY Appleseed to bring health and disability insurance to 50,000 members of the New York taxi driver fleet. The Arent Fox team found an innovative way to structure a proposal generating seed money and ongoing funding that creates a permanent source of funding for health and disability benefits for low-income taxi drivers.
Working with an ABA Section of Litigation Task Force, Mr. Bowers taught a trial skills training program for 32 Haitian criminal defense lawyers in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Mr. Bowers was part of a delegation of nine lawyers and a federal judge who jointly prepared teaching materials over a period of several months. The group then taught advocacy skills and international legal principles during a four-day training session in Haiti, with the goal to strengthen the Haitian justice system. This was the third foreign delegation Mr. Bowers has participated in to strengthen court-based justice systems in developing countries by providing criminal defense training, having previously shared his skills and expertise with lawyers in Afghanistan and Sudan.