Milbank LLP honored the teams and individuals who made extraordinary pro bono contributions in the past year at the firm’s 29th Annual Pro Bono Awards event hosted by Pro Bono Counsel Anthony Perez Cassino and Deputy Pro Bono Counsel Rebecca Heller on July 27, 2021, at Milbank’s New York office at 55 Hudson Yards. Milbank attorneys, summer associates and business services professionals attended the hybrid event, with many others joining the celebration virtually.
Lawyers were recognized for a wide range of pro bono achievements, such as addressing inequity in the criminal justice and immigration systems, providing COVID-related assistance, and supporting efforts that promote women’s rights, civil rights, anti-discrimination, police accountability, mental health protections, debt relief and corporate transparency. The program also recognized an Honor Roll of 137 lawyers and legal assistants who contributed 100 or more pro bono hours over the past year.
In his introductory remarks, Milbank Chairman Scott A. Edelman discussed the firm’s tireless focus on pro bono. “Despite dealing with the many challenges of adjusting to remote work, so many of our lawyers answered the call to assist others,” said Mr. Edelman. “During the pandemic we dedicated thousands of hours to helping individuals and small businesses get back on their feet. We also expanded our already robust efforts focused on racial justice and equity issues.”
Milbank’s commitment to pro bono continues to grow, with lawyers contributing a firm-record 72,000 hours globally in 2020. In the United States, the firm logged 53,000 hours, averaging 92 hours per attorney. The recent American Lawyer Pro Bono Scorecard, which ranks the top 200 firms across the country, placed Milbank among the leaders for “Breadth of Commitment to Pro Bono.”
Mr. Cassino presented personalized awards to the honorees for their accomplishments, which included, among others:
- Securing a settlement with New York City requiring the installation of wireless internet in more than 200 homeless shelters, enabling more than 11,000 school-aged children to participate in remote education during the pandemic (Team: Grant Mainland, Alison Bonelli, Emily Lilburn, Katie Cassidy-Ginsberg, Maria Ortiz, Emily Clarke, Isabel Pitaro)
- Forcing the rollback of a discriminatory ordinance blocking the development of the nonprofit All Muslim Association of America’s religious cemetery in Virginia (Team: Tawfiq Rangwala, Melanie Yanez, Sharaf Islam, Julie Wolf, Monica Martin Arnold, Riah Kim, Vanessa Gonzalez-Ahmed, Hannah Blazek, Morgan Mason, Mike Frieda, Courtney Irons, Yomi Ayandipo)
- Obtaining a court order mandating that the NYPD turn over body-worn camera footage capturing the fatal police shooting of a woman experiencing a mental health crisis in her home (Team: Jed Schwartz, Benjamin Reed, Marion Burke, Marguerite O’Brien, Jasper Perkins)
- Ending an oppressive immigration policy that threatened to harm survivors of trafficking and other immigrants seeking humanitarian relief (Team: Aaron Renenger, Stephen Benz, Julie Wolf, Linda Dakin-Grimm, Rachel Wolf, Kavon Khani, Sandhya Ramaswamy, David Cohen, Angel Anderson)
- Securing the release of a Guatemalan immigrant illegally removed from the United States and detained upon his return under an unlawful immigration policy (Team: Linda Dakin-Grimm, Chase Beauclair)
- Winning the battle for a US Marine mired in the immigration system and enabling him to rejoin his family in America as a naturalized US citizen (Team: Mark Shinderman, Linda Dakin-Grimm, James Behrens, Jeffrey Greenberg)
- Successfully calling for the improvement of women’s access to reproductive rights and services in Nepal (Team: Paul Denaro, Erin Culbertson, Pinky Mehta, Hannah Blazek, Marcela Barba)
- Helping a nonprofit in Panama improve corporate transparency in that country by reducing corruption, money laundering and tax avoidance (Team: Arndt Stengel, Marcela Barba, Jesus Narvaez, Anna Bergstrom, Javier El-Hage, Andrew Park, Sebastian Dexheimer, Séverine Losembe, David Waserstein)