June 23, 2004

Four Attorneys Awarded the Benjamin R. Civiletti Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year Award

3 min

Venable has awarded Danette Edwards, Michael Hecht, Mary Ellen Himes, and Michael Gollin the Benjamin R. Civiletti Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year Award for 2004. This award is given to attorneys who have performed truly remarkable pro bono service in the last year.

Danette Edwards handled a guardianship matter for a woman who literally walked into Venable's Baltimore office one day and worked with Warren Hamel on a criminal matter in federal court involving an employee of the FBI accused of stealing from his employer. Danette spent hundreds of hours in the evening and on weekend s to work on behalf of her client and successfully wrote and presented a persuasive position on a disputed federal sentencing guideline provision on the issue of "abuse of position of trust."

Michael Hecht successfully persuaded the government to agree to a remand in a pro bono case before the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for Veteran Claims on behalf of a disabled veteran. He has also been representing a client in a remarkably contentious custody case and is defending an HIV-positive client in a federal criminal case. Michael has logged more than 1,200 pro bono hours since joining Venable in 1999 and was recently awarded the Maryland Pro Bono Service Award.

Mary Ellen Himes successfully represented two different claimants in social security appeals. She has also been a highly effective member of a team of Venable lawyers representing a difficult client in a prisoner rights case. She also represented a woman who was the victim of an unscrupulous car dealer and a demanding bank.

Michael Gollin founded and worked to bring to fruition the Public Interest Intellectual Property Advisors, Inc., or PIIPA, a global nonprofit resource for developing countries and public interest organizations seeking expertise in intellectual property matters to promote health, science, and the environment. PIIPA provides world-wide access to IP professionals who advise and represent such clients on a pro bono basis as a public service. In the past year, PIIPA has provided representation to clients in Brazil, Peru and Madagascar, and in now housed in facilities provided by the Smithsonian Institution. In addition to Venable's support, PIIPA has received grants from NIH and the Department of International Development of the United Kingdom.

Jim Shea and Gerry Treanor presented the awards at the Pro Bono reception, which was held on June 14, 2004. The Venable Foundation will donate $1,000 to the charity of each recipient's choice. Venable attorneys and paralegals have performed more than 17,000 hours of pro bono service in the last year.

One of the American Lawyer’s top 100 law firms, Venable LLP has attorneys practicing in all areas of corporate and business law, complex litigation, intellectual property and government affairs. Venable serves corporate, institutional, governmental, nonprofit and individual clients throughout the U.S. and around the world from its headquarters in Washington, D.C. and offices in California, Maryland, New York and Virginia.