On June 3, Venable hosted its annual Pro Bono Recognition ceremony to announce this year’s recipients of the Benjamin R. Civiletti Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year Awards. Seth Rosenthal, chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee, presented the awards to Andrew Steinberg, a seventh-year associate in the firm’s nonprofit practice; Stephanie Loughlin, a partner in the firm’s tax group; and Bart Stupak, a partner in the firm’s legislative practice.
In his remarks, Seth noted that each of this year’s recipients is being recognized not for any singular pro bono achievement, but for all of the substantial pro bono work they have done at Venable. They are all high performers who make it a priority to provide pro bono assistance to individuals and nonprofit organizations in need. “The work they have done is not the glamorous, systemic reform work you often hear about,” Seth said. But it is essential work, and it is indispensable to the individuals and organizations who are the beneficiaries.”
The first recipient, Andrew Steinberg, was acknowledged for his “substantial and consistent service.” Averaging over 150 pro bono hours per year, Andrew has used his experience in nonprofit governance to assist no fewer than 20 different nonprofit organizations over the past seven years. He has devoted hundreds of hours apiece to two long-term pro bono clients, DC Central Kitchen and Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, effectively serving as trusted outside general counsel to both organizations.
Stephanie Loughlin was praised for making pro bono work a “daily habit.” She provides annual assistance to low-income individuals at walk-in tax preparation clinics, helps individual low-income clients with tax disputes, and lends her considerable experience with tax law to charitable organizations, such as Friendship Place, a DC nonprofit that provides housing, counseling, and job placement services to individuals experiencing homelessness. Stephanie’s work for Nurturing Minds, an organization that educates and empowers impoverished Tanzanian girls, was highlighted. In recent years, Stephanie has spent over 450 hours providing corporate governance, transactional, and planned giving program advice to the organization.
Bart Stupak was similarly recognized as a leader in his field who incorporates pro bono work into his daily practice. A former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Bart has helped with various pro bono matters before Congress, including drafting a resolution that authorized Congressional Sports for Charity to create a fund for contributing money raised from the annual Congressional Baseball Game to local charities. Bart’s special area of concentration is representing individuals with disabilities who have been denied Social Security disability benefits. In recent years, accepting referrals from the Legal Aid Society of DC, Bart has spent over 500 hours assisting numerous different individuals with benefits claims.
Tom Perez, who recently joined Venable as a partner following stints as the chair of the Democratic National Committee, U.S. secretary of labor, and assistant attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, also honored the award recipients and spoke about the critical importance of pro bono service, particularly during the global pandemic. “One of the things that attracted me to Venable was its very strong commitment to making sure there is access to justice for the underserved. There is so much injustice out there that still needs to be corrected,” he said. “The demand will continue to be off the charts.”