Led by Proskauer Pro Bono Initiative Committee Chair Scott Harshbarger and firmwide Pro Bono Counsel Stacey O’Haire Fahey, the March 7 ceremony paid special tribute to these Proskauer professionals, who represent every level in the firm – from Partner to Professional Resources Specialist – and every legal department – Corporate, Health Care, Labor & Employment, Litigation, Personal Planning, Real Estate and Tax. All award recipients exemplify excellence in the practice of law through volunteer legal services in support of pro bono causes that range from helping a young Salvadoran boy who witnessed a gang murder gain asylum in the United States, to fielding phone calls from more than 3,700 voters in Ohio, Arkansas and New Jersey in last year’s U.S. presidential election.
The awards ceremony also served as the occasion for Proskauer to recognize the Urban Justice Center and the National Senior Citizens Law Center with donations of $205,000 each. The donations represented attorneys’ fees awarded to the firm, which worked pro bono with both organizations to obtain a favorable ruling in Clark v. Astrue. The successful class-action lawsuit challenged the U.S. Social Security Administration over its practice of denying benefits to people based on outstanding probation and parole warrants and led to a court order restoring benefits that could ultimately total more than $1 billion.
Following is a complete list of this year’s Golden Gavel Award winners, based on the offices in which they are located:
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Five Proskauer lawyers have been named “Top Women Attorneys in Massachusetts" by Massachusetts Super Lawyers, a peer-ranked guide to the top five percent of the state’s lawyers. The rankings will be published as a special supplement in the April issue of Boston Magazine.
Among those recognized is Robin Painter, co-chair of Proskauer’s Corporate Department and co-head of its Private Investment Funds Group. Ms. Painter has practiced private equity and venture capital law for more than 25 years. She represents sponsors in structuring private investment funds and funds of funds and advises U.S. and global institutional investors and investment advisors in private equity transactions. A recognized leader in her field, she was named one of the “30 most influential lawyers in global private equity” by Private Equity International.
In addition to Ms. Painter, the following Proskauer lawyers were named “Top Women Attorneys in Massachusetts”: Sarah K. Cherry – Business/Corporate; Kimberly A. Mottley – Intellectual Property Litigation; Amy Crafts – Business Litigation; and Vanessa D. Gilbreth – Employment & Labor.
Mses. Cherry, Mottley, Crafts and Gilbreth were all recently recognized as Massachusetts Super Lawyers 2012 “Rising Stars” – a select group of lawyers aged 40 or under or who have been in practice for 10 years or less.
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Global law firm Proskauer represented the Gansevoort Hotel Group in its agreement with Caesars Entertainment Corporation to open a new Gansevoort hotel, located in the former Bill's Gamblin' Hall space on the Las Vegas Strip. The hotel, which is currently undergoing a $185 million renovation, is expected to open to guests in January 2014.
Leading the deal were Corporate partners Jeffrey Horwitz, head of the firm’s Lodging & Gaming and Private Equity Real Estate groups, and Ronald Kornreich, along with Intellectual Property senior counsel Jenifer deWolf Paine.
The deal is the latest acted on by Proskauer in the lodging space. In 2012, the firm advised long-time client Accor S.A. on the sale of Motel 6 to an affiliate of Blackstone Real Estate Partners VII for $1.9 billion – the largest deal in the U.S. lodging industry in recent years.
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Proskauer’s Pro Bono Initiative and Real Estate special counsel Audrey Bender have been honored by My Sisters’ Place with its prestigious “Voices for Change” award. The award, which recognizes Proskauer for its volunteer work on behalf of this White Plains, NY-based domestic-violence and human trafficking agency, was announced at the organization’s 2013 Spring Benefit, “Many Stories—One Mission,” held on March 7.
Under the leadership of Proskauer Personal Planning Department Chair Jay Waxenberg, Proskauer has provided pro bono counsel to My Sisters’ Place for more than six years. The firm has worked with the organization on numerous significant matters, ranging from assisting in child custody and visitation cases, to helping victims of physical and mental abuse obtain temporary legal status and U.S. work eligibility through the federal U visa program. Most recently, the firm is helping My Sisters’ Place acquire a new emergency shelter.