(CHICAGO) Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP announced today that 16 attorneys were recognized for providing outstanding pro bono services.

"We are proud of these attorneys who have demonstrated deep, consistent commitment to public service. We thank them for their willingness to help those in our communities who would be forced to go without high-quality legal services but for the kindness and industry-leading skills of our team members," said Katten Chairman Roger P. Furey. "This kind of dedication is an important part of Katten's mission to serve our communities in a meaningful way."

This year’s 20th annual Pro Bono Service Awards recipients, who each received a $1,000 honorarium to donate to a charity, are:

  • Kristin J. Achterhof, partner, Intellectual Property, Chicago
  • Robert P. Cave, staff attorney, Real Estate, Charlotte
  • Amanda M. Christie, partner, Real Estate, Charlotte
  • Karen B. Dine, partner, Insolvency and Restructuring, New York
  • Christopher B. Ferenc, associate, Intellectual Property, Washington, DC
  • Jerry Jakubovic, staff attorney, Intellectual Property, New York
  • Paige Laborde, associate, Environmental and Workplace Safety, Houston
  • Alyse A. Sagalchik, associate, Corporate, Chicago
  • Nicole A. Saleem, associate, Litigation, Chicago
  • Julia E. Schmidt, partner, Real Estate, Washington, DC
  • Leah E.A. Solomon, associate, Litigation, Los Angeles
  • Michael Speranza, counsel, Real Estate Finance and Lending, London
  • Melissa Velez, associate, Litigation, Los Angeles
  • Charlotte S. Wasserstein, associate, Litigation, Los Angeles

Additionally, Elizabeth K. Kleinman, who is counsel, and Gavin Scotti, an associate, both in the Real Estate practice in New York, received honorable mentions for their pro bono contributions.

"We commend these attorneys who have rendered pro bono services and made a difference in the lives of those less fortunate and in the welfare of the communities in which we practice," said Katten's Director of Pro Bono Services Jonathan Baum, who hosted an awards ceremony in Chicago where US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Chief Judge Ruben Castillo offered remarks. "As attorneys, we have a moral obligation and responsibility to answer the call to action and use our valuable legal skills in offering assistance to disadvantaged and marginalized individuals as well as nonprofit organizations," Baum said.

The individuals honored this year provided a variety of pro bono services, including:

  • serving in neighborhood legal clinics to counsel to low-income individuals on basic legal issues, including family law, public benefits, housing, and estate planning;
  • working to obtain asylum in the United States for refugees fleeing persecution in El Salvador, Eritrea, Honduras, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Uganda;
  • protecting the intellectual property of artists, musicians and nonprofit organizations advocating for the disabled, engaged in medical research, providing services to at-risk youth, and promoting natural resources conservation;
  • assisting those impacted by the criminal justice system by providing direct defense against prosecutions; litigating for better prison conditions; and obtaining parole, clemency, proper credit for time served and expunction of criminal records;
  • securing adoptions for young children; resolving child custody disputes; and obtaining legal protections for victims of domestic violence;
  • obtaining for veterans the benefits their service-related disabilities entitle them to;
  • providing essential corporate law guidance for student entrepreneurs and women- and minority-owned small businesses;
  • protecting the First Amendment rights of the homeless;
  • real estate-related work including protecting the property rights of seniors and securing facilities, through leasing or construction, for nonprofit educational and social service providers; and
  • preparing wills for low-income seniors and HIV-positive individuals.