January 15, 2015 – Pierce Atwood LLP today recognized attorneys and staff who have personified the firm’s culture of giving back to the community through pro bono and community service efforts. Five awards were presented, including:
Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award: Presented to the attorney who has contributed the highest number of pro bono hours in the past year, this award was presented to Kasia S. Park, a litigation associate in the firm’s Portland office. In 2014, Kasia completed 415 hours of pro bono service, more than eight times the 50-hour-per-year goal. Kasia works primarily with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), which provides volunteer advocates for abused, neglected, or abandoned children when the state has requested court intervention because parents are unable to care for them. Noting that Kasia often went up against more experienced attorneys in the courtroom, Managing Partner Gloria Pinza called her work with CASA “remarkable,” and that “we are proud of Kasia’s clear dedication to pro bono service and thank her for setting the bar high for all of us.”
McKusick Community Impact Award: Named for the late Vincent Lee McKusick, the former Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court and Pierce Atwood friend and lawyer for more than 25 years, this award recognizes one attorney and one staff member who have made “significant, positive impacts in their communities through pro bono and/or community service.” Award recipients select a charitable organization to receive a monetary donation made on their behalf by the firm. The winners are:
- Lawrence M. Edelman, litigation attorney in the Portsmouth NH office, for his pro bono efforts involving the New Hampshire Legal Advice and Referral Center. Larry helps underserved clients who are fighting in court for their most basic rights. Michele Kenney, partner in charge of the Portsmouth office, notes that Larry’s work with LARC has been “particularly compelling.” Larry has developed the “Pierce Atwood Model” with LARC, whereby the Portsmouth office receives direct referrals of LARC cases and Larry oversees finding volunteers to take on the cases.
- Natalie Huddleston, office administrator in the DC office, who for the past five years, has helped raise funds to renovate classrooms and improve the lives of students at Patterson Elementary School. Julia Weller, a partner in the DC office, noted that Natalie’s volunteer efforts include coordinating fund-raising events, designing the school’s store, painting classrooms on weekends, and providing ongoing program coordination and support for the school’s principal.
Scribner Firm Impact Award: Named after long-time former partner Fred Scribner, whose legacy endures through the firm’s commitment to the community, its employees, and the law, this award is given to one staff member and one attorney who work to keep pro bono and community service top- of-mind in the firm. The winners are:
- Katie Nokes Minervino, an immigration associate in the Portland office, whose pro bono work focuses on the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project in Maine, where she represents asylum seekers. She has also been a member of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee and actively encourages her peers to participate in pro bono and bar activities. Senior litigation counsel Ralph Lancaster stated, “Katie is an inspiration within the firm – someone who is always willing to take on a new (non-billable) task to move forward larger initiatives and she has always been a vocal advocate for pro bono service.”
- Michelle S. Pottle, a senior paralegal in the Portland office, who worked closely with firm management to create the Janet D. Eustis Memorial Volunteer Time-Off Program, which allows staff members one paid day off a year to volunteer at an organization of their choice. In the first six months of the program, 22 staff members have volunteered more than 50 hours of time to a variety of worthy organizations. Calling her “one person with a vision,” Charles Vrtis, director of human resources noted, “Michelle got us all thinking about community service last year when she proposed the idea to give staff members paid time-off so that they are empowered to get out in the community and volunteer.”
For over a century, Pierce Atwood attorneys have shaped a legacy of service to the community. Starting with founding partner Joseph Symonds, who in 1878 was the youngest person of his time to be appointed a Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, to former Chief Justice of the Maine SJC Vincent McKusick, to current First Circuit Judge William Kayatta, Jr., firm members have served in leadership roles not only in the practice of law, but in public life and in their communities.
That commitment to the communities we serve has become a lasting, continuous thread, woven deeply into the fabric of Pierce Atwood. That fabric now stretches across six East Coast offices, where we served 92 organizations just last year, and provided nearly 3,600 pro bono hours to those who need but cannot access legal services. For more information about the firm’s commitment to the community, please visit the pro bono pages of our website.
Pierce Atwood LLP, a leading New England-based law firm, has 130 attorneys that serve regional, national and international clients from offices in Portland and Augusta, Maine; Portsmouth, New Hampshire; Boston, Massachusetts; Providence, Rhode Island; Stockholm, Sweden; and Washington, DC. Follow us on Twitter @PierceAtwoodLLP.