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Wiley Rein Recognizes 23 Individuals in Second Annual Pro Bono Program Celebration

November 14, 2014

Wiley Rein is pleased to highlight the outstanding contributions of an exceptional group of individuals to pro bono work over the past year.  During the firm’s second annual Pro Bono Program Celebration held earlier this month, 23 individuals were singled out for their contributions to pro bono matters.  These deserving lawyers and legal support staff were selected by a joint subcommittee of the firm’s Pro Bono and Associates Committees, after nominations were solicited from attorneys throughout the firm.  They were also among 40 Wiley Rein attorneys and staff who were recognized for devoting 100 hours or more to pro bono service.

Theodore A. Howard, who was recently named Wiley Rein’s first full-time Pro Bono Partner, commented, “We are proud of the exceptional efforts of those individuals who distinguished themselves in a diverse and challenging variety of pro bono matters.  Their work embodies the firm’s desire to give back to the community in which we have the privilege to practice law, and to provide quality legal representation to those who might otherwise not have access to those services.”

Wiley Rein’s Pro Bono Program has provided more than 16,000 hours of services in 2014.  The firm and its lawyers have been recognized numerous times throughout the firm’s more than 30-year history for their pro bono contributions.  The honorees and their 2014 accomplishments are noted below.

Dedicated and Distinguished Service Award

The most prestigious award for 2014 went to Paul F. Khoury, a partner in the firm’s Government Contracts Group.  The honor was in recognition of his service over many years as the firm’s former Pro Bono Committee Chair, as well as his many and notable contributions in leadership of the Pro Bono Program during that time.

Outstanding Team Performance for Litigation

In the category of team contributions on a pro bono litigation matter, four lawyers were honored:

  • Tara L. Ward and Samantha S. Lee, associates in the Government Contracts Practice, worked diligently on behalf of a client who came to the firm through the CAIR Coalition.  The client had been facing deportation from the United States because of past criminal conduct, but feared returning to his home country, where he had been subject to physical assault and mental abuse on the basis of his sexual orientation; he was ultimately awarded withholding from removal and released from detention, and has been reunited with his partner.
  • In a matter referred to Wiley Rein by the Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities, Employment & Labor Practice chair Todd A. Bromberg and Insurance Practice associate Parker J. Lavin represented an autistic high school graduate who had been denied vocational rehabilitation services that he was entitled to receive from the DC Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA).  After filing an appeal and participating in numerous hearings, the team negotiated a settlement with RSA to fund 90% of the costs of a continuing education and training program, the completion of which will allow the student to live productively in the community.

Outstanding Performance for Non-Litigation

The lawyer selected for transactional work was:

  • Roger H. Miksad, an associate in the Environment & Safety and Food & Drug Law practices, who represented a wide variety of clients in non-litigation matters, providing IRS Section 501(c)(3) assistance to the Polish Embassy School; the DC Theater Arts Collective (Anacostia Playhouse); Friends of Gompers Park; Elementi Foundation; and the Congressional Hockey League.

Outstanding Individual Contributions for Litigation

Four lawyers were given individual kudos for contributions on litigation matters:

  • Rachel A. Alexander, a partner in the Health Care and Government Contracts practices, was appointed in October 2013 as the Guardian Ad Litem representing the best interests of three children in their parents’ lengthy, contentious, and ongoing custody dispute.  Ms. Alexander’s representation has required advocating for the children not only in the D.C. Family Courts but also in various criminal matters and with D.C. social services.  In part due to Ms. Alexander’s representation, the family has begun to stabilize and the children have shown improved social and academic progress and are able to spend safe, quality time with both of their parents. 
  • Craig G. Fansler, an associate in the Environment & Safety Practice—in one of the first matters referred to the firm by the CAIR Coalition—represented a client facing deportation to Guatemala.  The client, 26, had entered the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident as a child, but unfortunately encountered legal troubles later in his life that caused U.S. immigration officials to seek deportation; if he had been deported, he would have been separated from his family and children.  Craig and his supporting team diligently built a strong factual case that the client had turned his life around, staying out of trouble and working two jobs in order to support his family, and ultimately persuaded the immigration court to grant withholding from removal, allowing the client to remain in the United States with his family.
  • Kyle Haley, an associate in the Communications Practice, was honored for multiple matters, including representing a client who had been in prison for 40 years and was preparing for a parole board hearing; the successful representation of a client in a landlord-tenant dispute, allowing the client to remain in her home, which is now being repaired by her landlord, not having to pay rent accrued during the dispute, and having reduced rent; advising a disabled client in an appeal for Social Security benefits; and assisting a client in a family law matter.
  • Kathleen E. Scott, an associate in the Communications Practice, was recognized for her numerous and key contributions across a wide variety of matters.

Recognition as a NALP/Street Law “MVP”

A number of key individuals who taught classes at The Academies at Anacostia in Washington, DC—and who also taught sessions during a one-day program at the firm—as part of the firm’s participation in the NALP/Street Law Legal Diversity Pipeline Program were recognized for their exceptional efforts.  The NALP/Street Law Program is geared to encourage high school students of all backgrounds to consider careers in the law. The individuals who were named NALP/Street Law “MVPs” are partners Megan L. Brown and Bennett L. Ross, and associates Derek G. Holt, Rachel K. Hunnicutt, John E. Howell, Karen L. Toto, and Caroline Rose Van Wie.

Legal Support Staff Pro Bono Contributions

Six members of Wiley Rein’s legal support staff also were recognized for the breadth and importance of their pro bono contributions:

  • Walter Abruzzese and Anita McLinton worked closely with the legal team in support of a CAIR Coalition project in which a lifesaving ruling was obtained from an immigration judge.
  • Garrett Fitzgerald and Bobby Shields provided extensive support on the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women medical care class action matter led by Mr. Howard.
  • Jennifer Tedrick worked with Ms. Alexander on the Guardian Ad Litem case in the D.C. Family Courts.
  • Drew Blundell provided extensive assistance to the team who negotiated a favorable settlement for the client in the Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities matter.

Wiley Rein prides itself on having a strong tradition of pro bono service to both local and global communities.  Wiley Rein’s representations over the past decade include noteworthy cases with sweeping potential ramifications, as well as matters handled on behalf of individuals referred through legal service providers with whom the firm has developed close relationships.  In addition, Wiley Rein has handled a diverse range of other matters appealing to the individual interests, strengths, and ideals of the firm’s pro bono participants.