Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year, District of Columbia Bar, 2010

Zuckerman Spaeder LLP was awarded the 2010 Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year Award in the category for large firms by the District of Columbia Bar, the second largest unified bar association in the United States. A litigation boutique of approximately 50 partners, counsels, and associates in its Washington, DC office, Zuckerman Spaeder was chosen by the DC Bar from among much larger DC-based law firms, and DC branch offices of multi-national firms. The DC Bar singled out Zuckerman Spaeder for this year’s Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year Award for the firm’s “outstanding pro bono work and many hours of service” at no charge to low-income clients in metropolitan Washington, DC.

At a time of considerable economic distress in the nation’s capital and elsewhere, in 2009 Zuckerman Spaeder attorneys increased their already significant pro bono commitment by almost 60 percent.

Attorneys from Zuckerman Spaeder devoted most of their pro bono time to direct legal representations of low-income persons and organizations that serve persons of low-income in the community where we live and work. In 2009 the firm helped an individual accused of capital murder avoid a death penalty charge, a Rwandan genocide survivor secure political asylum after he was tortured by government agents for testifying against those accused of murdering his family, early childcare providers in Anacostia seek increases in childcare subsidies, and grandmothers gain custody of their grandchildren. A long-time supporter of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, Zuckerman Spaeder won precedent-setting appeals on behalf of the Legal Aid Society and its clients. After helping to establish a pro bono program in the bankruptcy court in 2006, the firm continues to provide pro bono representation to individuals in bankruptcy proceedings. The firm also puts its legal ethics experience to use in advising legal service providers including the Public Defender Service of the District of Columbia. These are only some of the firm’s 2009 pro bono matters.

“The fact that Zuckerman Spaeder’s pro bono efforts compared favorably to the work of law firms with many more lawyers in DC is a testament to the breadth and depth of the pro bono matters undertaken by our attorneys,” said Eleanor H. Smith, chair of Zuckerman Spaeder’s Pro Bono Practice. “Zuckerman Spaeder is honored by this recognition from the DC Bar and is tremendously proud of all of our attorneys who give of their time and talents as legal professionals to make positive differences in the lives persons of limited means.”

“We take pride in our work for high-profile clients in major legal battles, but few things are as satisfying as providing effective legal representation to a person or community that otherwise would not have legal assistance,” said Graeme W. Bush, chairman of Zuckerman Spaeder. “We believe that the significant contribution our attorneys make to pro bono matters serves the greater good. Pro bono is a part of the fabric of the firm.”

In addition to the DC Bar award to the firm, Zuckerman Spaeder attorney David A. Reiser received the American Bar Association’s (ABA) 2010 Pro Bono Publico Award. This national award is presented annually by the ABA’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service to five individual lawyers and institutions in the legal profession that have demonstrated outstanding commitment to volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged. Mr. Reiser was recognized for his instrumental role in the success of the Legal Aid Society’s Appellate Advocacy Project.

Zuckerman Spaeder will be honored on Thursday, June 24 at the DC Bar’s Annual Awards Dinner at The Renaissance Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. To read more about the firm’s pro bono work, please download the latest issue of Pro Bono Matters.

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Kalie Hardos
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