Kramer Levin, along with Litigation associatesDarren Laverne and Jennifer Diana, were among those honored at the Legal Aid Society's 2009 Pro Bono Awards. The firm and associates were recognized for helping to launch the Society's Criminal Defense Pro Bono Project - an innovative program that allows Legal Aid to stretch its limited resources while affording law firm associates a unique opportunity to develop their criminal litigation skills. Starting last fall and continuing into 2009, Darren and Jennifer devoted approximately 20-30 percent of their time to Legal Aid's criminal defense practice.
Under the supervision of Legal Aid mentors, they served as lead counsel in misdemeanor cases, representing indigent defendants at all stages of the proceedings, including arraignment, plea negotiations and trial, and assisted in felony matters.
Of the several firms participating in launching the program, Kramer Levin was the only one to have two associates singled out for the awards, which were presented by New York Court of Appeals Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman at an October 26 ceremony. Firm Co-Chair and former Legal Aid board member Gary P. Naftalis and Pro Bono Committee Chair Jeffrey S. Trachtman joined Darren and Jennifer to receive the award on behalf of the firm. Kramer Levin's participation in the program is coordinated by special counsel Dani R. James and partner Eric A. Tirschwell.