Press Releases

June 15, 2011

Public Counsel Salutes Our Team of Top Volunteers at 2011 Pro Bono Awards

Public Counsel host a reception for attorneys and professionals who helped us provide free legal help valued at $88 million in 2011. This year’s event is Wednesday, June 15, at Hotel Figueroa in downtown Los Angeles.

With more than 5,000 volunteer attorneys and professionals from the nation’s top law firms, companies and private practitioners, Public Counsel is the nation’s largest not-for-profit law firm of our kind.

“Public Counsel’s team is making a difference for more than 32,000 people and small businesses every year,” said Public Counsel President and CEO Hernán Vera. “We leverage the power of major law firms and top professionals to change people’s lives every day. Our honorees are talented attorneys and professionals and they are making our city and nation a better place to live.”

The Pro Bono Awards will recognize achievement in areas including children’s rights, community development, consumer law, early care and education, homeless prevention, veterans’ rights. The President’s Awards honor specific contributions from excellent individuals and companies.

Among the attorneys honored are two firms who represented students in a path-breaking case over teacher layoffs and went to bat for a family fighting mortgage fraud.

Sean Gates, Hailly Korman, Dale Larson, Jack Londen and Miriam Vogel of Morrison & Foerster LLP put their talents to action when Public Counsel went to court with the ACLU to protect students from teacher layoffs that hit low-performing schools the hardest. The team from Morrison & Foerster, led by Sean Gates, devoted eight months to negotiating and protecting a resolution to Reed v. State. The result is a landmark protection of students’ fundamental right to equal educational opportunity that protects at least 75,000 students annually in the Los Angeles Unified School District from budget-based teacher layoffs. Miriam Vogel at Morrison & Foerster leads our appellate effort.

Like thousands of Southern Californians caught up in the foreclosure crisis, Michal Johnson's family lost the title of their home of 30 years through a mortgage scam. Christopher Cowan, Bradley Mullins, Leslie E. Schuster, Gregory R. Smith, Lucy M. Stark and Jonathan Steinberg from Irell & Manella LLP have spent more than 1,000 hours working win the family’s appeal.

The Pro Bono Awards also recognizes the top participants in Public Counsel’s Run for Justice, an official charity of the 2011 Los Angeles Marathon.

This year’s President’s Award recipients receive iPads courtesy of Elite, a Thomson Reuters Business, and a longtime supporter of Public Counsel.

Full list of recipients:

Pro Bono Awards

Sirena Castillo, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP: Immigrants’ Rights

Frank Clementi, Rios Clementi Hale Studios: Early Care & Education

Sheryl Hayashida, Law Office of Sheryl S. Hayashida: Children’s Rights

Keith Alan Higginbotham, Law Offices of Keith Alan Higginbotham: Debtors’ Assistance

Christopher Cowan, Bradley Mullins, Leslie E. Schuster, Gregory R. Smith, Lucy M. Stark and Jonathan Steinberg, Irell & Manella LLP: Consumer Law

Samuel Kim, Volunteer: Pro Per Guardianship Clinic at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse

Nate G. Kraut, Law Offices of Nate G. Kraut: Appellate Law

Veronica Kuiumdjian, Reed Smith LLP: Adoptions

Sean Gates, Hailly Korman, Dale Larson, Jack Londen and Miriam Vogel, Morrison & Foerster LLP: Impact Litigation

Angelica Ochoa, Volunteer: Federal Pro Se Clinic

Marshal A. Oldman, Oldman, Cooley, Leighton, Sallus, Gold, Birnberg & Coleman, LLP: Homelessness Prevention

Joshua Bird, Glen Chen, Adam Cherensky, Peter Cho, Elizabeth Dryden and Sherry Jackman, Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP: Homelessness Prevention

Anna Rienhardt, Latham & Watkins LLP, Community Development

Adam White, Attorney at Law: Center for Veterans Advancement

President’s Awards

Adam Cherensky, Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP

Alfred M. Clark, Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell LLP

Theodore Maya, Amanda Myers and Jonathan Rotter, Kaye Scholer LLP

Jana Sue Memel, The Hollywood Way

Michelle Goodman, Jodi Lopez, Cameron Johnson, Lauren Nevitt and Debra Pole, Sidley Austin LLP

Run for Justice at the Los Angeles Marathon:

Outstanding Team Participation:
Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP (1st place)
Bingham McCutchen LLP (2nd place)
Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP and Southern California Edison (3rd place tie)

The Karen Paull Justice Cup (In Recognition of the Most Money Raised):

Southern California Edison (1st Place)
Sidley Austin LLP (2nd Place)
Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP (3rd Place)