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    Arent Fox Real Estate Partner Carolyn Austin to Receive Lawyers Alliance for New York Cornerstone Award for Pro Bono Work

    Austin has volunteered services to East Harlem Block Nursery, Children’s Aid College Prep Charter School, and National Domestic Workers Alliance; celebrating its 45th year, Lawyers Alliance connects attorneys with nonprofits serving communities in need.

    October 15, 2014

    New York, NY — Arent Fox LLP congratulates New York-based real estate partner Carolyn Austin, who has been honored with a 2014 Cornerstone Award by the Lawyers Alliance of New York.

    The Cornerstone Award recognizes individuals and institutions that make extraordinary contributions through pro bono services to helping improve the lives of lower-income New Yorkers. The Award has been given annually since 1997 by the Lawyers Alliance, which was formed in 1969 to help connect attorneys with local nonprofits serving New York communities in need.

    Ms. Austin was involved in a lengthy, complex land transaction on behalf of East Harlem Block Nursery (EHB), a nonprofit providing early-childhood and after-school services, which required her to obtain consent from both the New York Attorney General and state Supreme Court that the nonprofit could sell a parcel of land to benefit its endowment. When the purchaser requested an extension, Ms. Austin was able to help provide monetary relief to EHB by securing a nonrefundable portion of the down payment in exchange for the extension. The sale, which went through in early 2014, also enabled EHB to hire an executive director.

    The nonprofits board chair said, “Carolyn’s expertise, guidance, and professionalism gave us confidence to deal with what turned out to be a long and arduous process.”

    The 2014 Cornerstone Awards will be presented on Thursday, October 30, at Credit Suisse, at One Madison Avenue, New York City. In addition to Ms. Austin, seven individuals and two institutions will be honored.

    In its 2013–14 fiscal year, the Lawyers Alliance reported that 226 attorneys volunteered their services to 81 local affordable housing and homeless services organizations on more than 140 legal matters. Additionally, more than 770 attorneys worked pro bono on 475 legal matters involving more than 300 New York children’s services organizations.

    Ms. Austin has also worked with the Children’s Aid College Prep Charter School, which was established in the South Bronx in 2012 in partnership with the Children’s Aid Society. The school, serving grades K-3, benefitted from Ms. Austin preparing its applications for tax exemptions, negotiating and reviewing its agreement with the city’s Department of Education for classroom space, and negotiating and drafting its management agreement with the Children’s Aid Society.

    In addition, Ms. Austin volunteered to help the National Domestic Workers Alliance negotiate a sublease for larger office space in Manhattan.

    “These pro bono experiences have allowed me to work with people I would otherwise not meet in my daily work,” said Ms. Austin, adding, “it never ceases to amaze me how much good work is being done by really smart, dedicated, and talented people. I am grateful for the opportunity to give back in some small way, and I look forward to continuing to put my real estate law background to use in assisting nonprofits.”

    Michael S. Blass, Managing Partner of Arent Fox’s New York office, said, “Carolyn has been thoroughly dedicated to the projects she has volunteered for and has seen them through some thorny twists and turns to successful outcomes. She richly deserves this honor from the Lawyers Alliance, which itself does admirable work in bringing together bright lawyers and worthy causes in New York. Arent Fox is proud to see Carolyn receive the Cornerstone Award.”

    Mr. Blass served for seven years as pro bono board member of the National Executive Service Corps before assuming the chairmanship in 2013.

    As part of her practice Ms. Austin handles sophisticated real estate transactions for both lenders and borrowers, involving all asset classes and types, including joint venture, partnership, and limited liability operating agreements, lease negotiation and drafting, and residential acquisition and sales. She earned her J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law and a B.A. from Fairfield University.


    Arent Fox LLP, founded in 1942, is internationally recognized in core practice areas where business and government intersect. With more than 350 lawyers, the firm provides strategic legal counsel and multidisciplinary solutions to clients that range from Fortune 500 corporations to trade associations. The firm has offices in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.