Lawyers Alliance for New York Announces 2016 Cornerstone Awards for Lawyers Providing Superior Pro Bono Service to Nonprofit Organizations

Monday, November 14, 2016 - 10:56

Lawyers Alliance for New York proudly announces that two leading law firms – Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP and Dentons US LLP – are recipients of the 2016 Cornerstone Awards.  These awards, the highest business law pro bono honor in New York, recognize outstanding pro bono legal services to nonprofit organizations that are improving quality of life for low-income New Yorkers.  Lawyers Alliance will present this year’s awards at a ceremony on November 17 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Viacom, 1515 Broadway in New York City. 
The 2016 Cornerstone Award winners also include 12 outstanding individuals selected from 1,600 business and transactional lawyers who volunteered through Lawyers Alliance during the past year.
“This year's Cornerstone Award winners not only provide much-needed pro bono legal services to nonprofit organizations working across New York City, but they also inspire their colleagues and clients with their dedication,” said Larren M. Nashelsky, Chair of the Board of Directors of Lawyers Alliance.

This year’s Institutional Cornerstone awardees are:
Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP:  The firm has provided pro bono assistance to Lawyers Alliance for many years, with Cahill lawyers providing a variety of legal services that benefit low-income New Yorkers.  Cahill’s work for Lawyers Alliance clients has helped improve urban health and sustainability, the quality of life for children, older youth, and New Yorkers of all ages, and stimulated economic development in underserved neighborhoods.  Cahill has substantially increased its participation in Lawyers Alliance matters in recent years, representing more than 30 community development organizations since 2013, including representation in 21 active matters over Lawyers Alliance’s past fiscal year.  Cahill’s advocacy of Lawyers Alliance is part of its long and honored pro bono tradition, and the firm’s efforts have had a major impact in and around New York City.
Dentons US LLP:  Along with its predecessor firms, Dentons has partnered with Lawyers Alliance for more than eighteen years, providing pro bono assistance to more than 75 nonprofit clients on more than 90 legal matters since 1998, including 22 cases during the past year.  Dentons attorneys provide critical guidance throughout the lifecycle of exempt organizations, including negotiating and preparing strategic agreements and offering significant employment law support to improve personnel management.  Helping communities in need is at the heart of the firm’s pro bono and corporate responsibility work, just as it is core to Lawyers Alliance’s focus on strengthening nonprofits that are improving quality of life in low-income communities.
“Lawyers Alliance is gratified to present these two extraordinary firms with Institutional Cornerstone Awards, our most significant honor, reflecting a substantial depth and breadth of business and transactional law pro bono.  Their work with nonprofit clients has truly made a difference in communities across the City,” noted Sean Delany, Lawyers Alliance’s Executive Director.
This year’s Individual Cornerstone awardees are:
Jonathan Bloom and Jessica Falk, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP:  For enhancing access to government information about nonprofits, allowing for greater transparency and benefiting the entire nonprofit sector.
Rita Dattola, Holland & Knight LLP:  For providing expert real estate legal advice to nonprofits and championing pro bono service, helping to connect colleagues with pro bono opportunities.
Anthony J. Distinti, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP:  For helping nonprofits understand and comply with complex federal tax laws and procedures.
David M. Feldman and Shellie Weisfeld Freedman, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP:  For negotiating contracts related to Medicaid Redesign to allow an asthma support organization to expand its health services.
David Harty, Kaye Scholer LLP:  For utilizing valuable legal and negotiation skills to help nonprofits rent affordable space to deliver multiple social services.
Michael Kessler, Clifford Chance US LLP:  For providing ongoing supportive legal advice to a children’s arts organization, enabling it to pursue national fundraising.
Mara B. Levin, Herrick, Feinstein LLP:  For active and responsive employment law assistance to a wide variety of nonprofits working to improve and enhance the quality of life for low-income New Yorkers.
Paul Pollock, Crowell & Moring LLP:  For providing sophisticated corporate legal advice to a workforce development organization, allowing it to expand its services and protect its intellectual property.
Jill Rosenberg, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP:  For making pro bono service a priority throughout her career, offering expert employment law support to numerous nonprofit organizations.
Mark Schonberger, Goodwin Procter LLP:  For building a trusted relationship with a Business Improvement District from its formation to present day, helping to advance the quality of life in its neighborhood.
“Since the inaugural Cornerstone Awards in 1997, only 196 of our volunteers have received an Individual Cornerstone Award.  These are Lawyers Alliance’s strongest volunteers, and they exemplify the best of the legal profession,” said Elizabeth M. Guggenheimer, Lawyers Alliance’s Deputy Executive Director and Director of Institutional Advancement.