In October 2020, Katten presented its annual Pro Bono Service Awards through a special virtual ceremony featuring guest speaker Judge Ann Claire Williams, a retired judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. In her opening remarks, Judge Williams commended Katten for the firm's commitment to pro bono and community service since its founding more than 40 years ago and for being a founding member of the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance, which was established last year to help identify and dismantle systemic racism and create meaningful change.

"Your firm has embraced that commitment of saying yes and doing remarkable work over the years, just as your 14 pro bono service awardees honored today have said yes in so many arenas: yes to helping veterans; yes to helping deal with the consequences of COVID-19; yes to helping the wrongfully convicted, victims of domestic violence, children, members of the LGBTQ community, and consumers needing protection…" Judge Williams said.

The 14 attorneys honored in 2020 included: Litigation partners Charles DeVore and David Luger, Financial Markets and Funds partner Carl Kennedy, Private Credit partner Terry Green, White Collar and Internal Investigations partner William Pericak, Litigation special counsels Janella Gholian and Jorge Solis, Litigation associate Craig Convissar, Intellectual Property associates Alexandra Caleca and Julia Mazur, Real Estate associates Timothy Cross and Max Swindle, Entertainment and Media associate Scott Cutrow, and Corporate associate Miran Vila.

In her opening remarks, Judge Williams also talked about what inspired her to become a judge and the importance of giving back to others, expressing her admiration for her parents and, in particular, her father, who worked very hard to earn an education and support his family.

"Each of us, as the remarkable iconic advocate of justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, is 'dedicated to making life a little better for people less fortunate than you. That's what I think a meaningful life is. One lives not just for oneself, but for one's community,'" Judge Williams said, adding: "That is at the heart of what pro bono work is all about."

To watch Judge Williams' opening remarks, click here.