MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Honors and Awards

Pepper lawyers have been honored many times for outstanding pro bono and community service. Recent awards include:

  • Pepper partner Justin H. Brown and associate Adrienne B. Hart were honored with the First Judicial District (Pennsylvania) Pro Bono Publico Award (Probate and Trust Law) for their work serving as guardians of incapacitated individuals. As members of the Elder Law and Guardianship Committee Mr. Brown and Ms. Hart assisted guardians needing help to complete annual guardianship reports in light of the new guardianship tracking system. Without assistance many guardians would have been removed and would no longer be able to serve their loved ones. Mr. Brown is co-chair of the Probate and Trust Law section. (2019)
  • Hannah Down McPhelin, a partner in Pepper’s Philadelphia office was presented with Pepper’s William R. Klaus Pro Bono Award for her extraordinary commitment of time and talent in investigating and gaining the exoneration and release of a person imprisoned for life for a crime he did not commit. Ms. McPhelin is a leader in inspiring and mentoring Pepper volunteers in taking on actual innocence and other pro bono matters. (2019)
  • Coreen McGuire and Gail Wyllie, Pepper legal secretaries also were presented with Pepper’s William R. Klaus Community Service Award for their work with the mission of supporting the homeless in Midtown Manhattan and coordinating Pepper’s outreach to homeless families, backpack drives and toy drives for those in need. (2019)
  • Pepper associate Connie Lee was honored with the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Large Firm Management Committee Public Service Award. The Award honors young lawyers who have made a difference in Philadelphia through extraordinary pro bono representation or public service to individuals or entities that address the challenges faced by communities of need in the City of Philadelphia. Ms. Lee has done pro bono work for the Homeless Advocacy Project, the Public Interest Law Center, the Legal Clinic for the Disabled and others, and was nominated for the award by the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Pennsylvania. (2019)
  • Pepper Hamilton received the Equal Justice Medal at Legal Services of New Jersey’s Equal Justice Awards. The firm’s Princeton office was recognized as a major contributor of pro bono legal assistance and honored for its work with Central Jersey Legal Services, which serves Mercer, Middlesex and Union counties. The office volunteers their time to assist Central Jersey Legal Services with intake for its tenants’ rights project, which represents low-income individuals facing eviction, unsafe housing conditions, foreclosure and other housing issues. The team has contributed more than 100 pro bono hours to the project.(2019)
  • The Support Center for Child Advocates (SCCA) named Allan A. Thoen as one of its Distinguished Advocates for his leadership in child advocacy efforts at Pepper. (2019)
  • Samuel J. Abate, Jr., a partner in Pepper’s New York office was presented with Pepper’s William R. Klaus Pro Bono Award for his key role in the Westchester Supreme Court's "Attorney for a Day" program. Cassandre L. Juste also was presented with Pepper’s William R. Klaus Community Service Award for her work with the Mission of Grace in Haiti. (2018)
  • Pepper Hamilton was honored at the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) Pennsylvania 2018 Annual Meeting, which recognized the volunteers who have made a difference in the lives of refugees and immigrants, as well as successful immigrants and refugees. The Pepper team included Andrew R. Rogoff, Anthony Vale, Cassandre L. Juste and Michael S. DePrince who were recognized for the pro bono work that their team and the Pepper Center for Public Service have done to assist individuals applying for asylum in the United States. (2018)
  • Pepper Hamilton recognized as an “Access to Justice Champion” at the inaugural SeniorLAW Center and AARP Pennsylvania Pro Bono Awards. Winners were chosen for their outstanding efforts in making the world more just for the most vulnerable. (2017)
  • Pepper Hamilton received the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) Advocacy Award for its role in a lawsuit filed on behalf of scores of people with mental illnesses who were being held in solitary confinement by the Delaware Department of Correction. The Pepper team on the matter included James H. S. Levine, Joanna J. Cline, Christopher B. Chuff, John Henry Schanne II, Ashleigh Reibach Huggett and Kyle A. Dolinsky. (2017)
  • The Pro Bono Local Action Committee for the Ninth Judicial District recognized the work of Pepper Hamilton, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Westchester County attorney Peter Spino on the Westchester Supreme Court's Attorney for a Day Program. (2017)
  • The Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network (PLAN) presented an Excellence Award to Thomas B. Schmidt III. Tom was nominated by the Friends of Farmworkers (now known as Advocates for Justice) and the Community Justice Project for his pro bono leadership with both organizations and his wide-ranging legal efforts to expand access to justice for those who had no other sources of help. (2017)
  • The Support Center for Child Advocates (SCCA) named Joseph A. Sullivan as one of its Distinguished Advocates for his leadership in child advocacy efforts at Pepper and through the Delivery of Legal Services Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association, which he co-chairs. (2017)
  • David J. Shaw, an associate in Pepper’s Washington D.C. office, was presented with Pepper’s William R. Klaus Pro Bono Award for outstanding leadership in representing teenage refugees in applying for asylum in the United States in partnership with Kids In Need of Defense (KIND). (2016)
  • Pepper Hamilton lawyers, led by Joanna J. Cline, were presented with the Clarence Darrow Award by the ACLU of Delaware for their successful settlement, as co-counsel with the ACLU and the Community Legal Aid Society, Inc. (CLASI), of claims on behalf of inmates with mental illness in the Delaware state correctional system placed in solitary confinement. The landmark settlement substantially expands mental health services, ensures proper evaluation of incoming prisoners and significantly expands weekly time for such prisoners outside their cells as well as individualized health care monitoring. (2016)
  • Pepper Hamilton’s solitary confinement team was also presented with CLASI’s Founder’s Award for their successful settlement for this class of prisoners. (2016)
  • Pepper associate Leah Greenberg Katz was honored with the First Judicial District (Philadelphia) Pro Bono Publico Award (Trial Division /Criminal) for her work as a member of Pepper’s Child Advocacy Practice Group in preparing a child to serve as a witness in a criminal matter, in parallel with her representation of the child in abuse and neglect proceedings. (2016)
  • Recently retired partner J. Gregg Miller was honored with the First Judicial District Pro Bono Publico Award (Trial Division/Civil) for his leadership in representing the PA SPCA in obtaining court approval to remove abused animals from their owners’ properties and to recoup the cost of care from the owners. (2016)
  • Pepper Hamilton selected by the Philadelphia Business Journal to receive the Brotherly Love, Sisterly Affection Award for various firm initiatives benefiting the Veterans Multi-Service Center. (2016)
  • Civil Libertarian Award presented to Pepper by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania (ACLU-PA) in recognition of the firm’s significant contributions to the ACLU in serving as cooperating attorneys for a number of important cases in recent years. (2015)
  • PNC Achievement Award presented to David Richman by the Philadelphia Bar Association for his significant accomplishments in improving the administration of justice. (2015)
  • The Children’s SSI Pro Bono Practice Group of Pepper Hamilton selected as recipient of the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Pro Bono Award. (2014)
  • Pepper named to The State Bar of Michigan 2014 Pro Bono Circle of Excellence.
  • Thaddeus Stevens Champion Award presented to Thomas B. Schmidt III by the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia (PILCOP). (2013)
  • Partner of the Year Award from the Senior Law Center recognizing the work of the Fighting Contractor Fraud practice group, which helps senior citizens fight back against unscrupulous home remodelers and other contractors who prey on the elderly. (2013)
  • Annual Partnership Benefits Award from Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation presented to alumna Linda Regis-Hallinan and alumnus Chris Howard for exceptional pro bono service. (2013)
  • The Outstanding Achievement Award presented to Samuel J. Abate, Jr. and alumna Laura M. Leitner by the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs for settling an 11th Circuit appeal for a disabled prisoner under the Americans with Disabilities Act. (2013)
  • Philadelphia Association of Paralegals presented two awards in its 40th anniversary year – Pepper Hamilton received the first-ever award to a law firm for its commitment to the paralegal profession, as well as for pro bono, and the Paralegal Award to Karen Aloia for her work on the Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program. (2013)
  • Pro Bono Leadership Award presented by Legal Services Corporation to special counsel Joseph A. Sullivan for his years of leadership. (2013)
  • Commitment Award presented by the Delaware State Bar Association to Matthew M. Greenberg. (2012)
  • Hero of Justice Award presented to Pepper Hamilton by the Pennsylvania Innocence Project for the numerous contributions of many lawyers and staff to its creation, management, operations and special events. (2012)
  • Bronze Gavel Award presented to Pepper Hamilton by the Philadelphia Volunteers for the Indigent Program (VIP) in recognition of pro bono work on behalf of indigent city residents, including assistance with mortgage modifications and obtaining clear title to residential properties. (2012)

Pepper also recognizes its lawyers and staff with awards internally. Each year, the firm presents the William R. Klaus Community Service Award and the William R. Klaus Pro Bono Award to recognize exceptional work in community service and pro bono matters. The awards are named for William R. Klaus, a chairman emeritus of Pepper who died in 2005. Mr. Klaus, a tireless advocate for the underserved, was one of the founders and early board chairs of Philadelphia’s Community Legal Services and a former chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association.

Also in honor of Mr. Klaus, in 2007, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia established the “William R. Klaus, Esq., Chair in Public Interest Law.” The Chair, which memorializes Mr. Klaus’ commitment and contributions to providing legal services for low-income residents in Philadelphia, is the first such chair at CLS and one of the first at any legal services organization in the country. It is to be awarded to a rising, dedicated attorney engaged in the practice of public interest law at CLS for less than 10 years.

Many Pepper lawyers also serve in leadership positions in bar associations and other organizations focusing on professionalism and public service. For example:

  • Alumnus Edward W. Madeira, Jr. served on the ABA’s Task Force on Preservation of the Justice System, its Standing Committee on Judicial Independence and its Standing Committee on Federal Judicial Improvements and as issues editor for Experience, the ABA Senior Lawyers Division magazine
  • Alumnus Gay Parks Rainville is immediate past chair of the board of directors of SeniorLAW Center of Pennsylvania
  • David Richman is co-founder and immediate past president of the board of the Pennsylvania Innocence Project
  • Michael H. Reed chairs the Philadelphia Ethics Commission and was president of the Pennsylvania Bar Association in 2004-2005
  • Joseph A. Sullivan serves as co-chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Delivery of Legal Services Committee and its Civil Gideon and Access to Justice Task Force.

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