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Jenner & Block honored 11 lawyers across the firm’s five offices for their exceptional contributions to pro bono work, service to the community and the organized bar, and mentoring efforts in an annual celebration on June 3, 2016.
Partners Jessica Ring Amunson, Barry Levenstam and Gail H. Morse and Associate Rafi W. Mottahedeh were presented with the Albert E. Jenner Pro Bono Award, which recognizes firm lawyers who have provided exceptional legal services to the needy.
Partner and Chair of the firm’s Litigation Department Craig C. Martin received the Jerold S. Solovy Award, which recognizes exceptional service to the organized bar and to the community.
The Mentorship Awards went to Partners Amanda S. Amert, Christopher C. Chiou and Ms. Amunson; Special Counsel Kelly Hagedorn; ERISA Litigation Counsel Shannon M. Callahan; and Associates Michael G. Babbitt and Laura P. MacDonald.
Albert E. Jenner Pro Bono Award
Ms. Amunson was recognized for her exceptional work on voting rights cases, her role as a key team member in successful appeals to the Seventh Circuit and US Supreme Court in Lawrence Owens’ indigent criminal defense case and her long-running representation and ultimate win of a grant of executive clemency for client Jesse Webster.
Mr. Levenstam was honored for his career-long record of pro bono work on behalf of hundreds of clients, particularly in Seventh Circuit appeals; his successful Supreme Court argument in January 2016 on behalf of client Lawrence Owens; his nine-year service as co-chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee; and his commitment to the not-for-profit Respiratory Health Association.
Ms. Morse and Mr. Mottahedeh were noted for their extensive transactional work on behalf of nonprofits and for a 2015 case in which they successfully represented a client erroneously accused of defrauding the State of Illinois concerning the collection of unemployment benefits. Ms. Morse’s role in helping two young women who became clients of the firm several years ago when their father went to prison for killing their mother was also highlighted, as was Mr. Mottahedeh’s work in asylum matters.
Named for one of the firm’s name partners, the Jenner Award has been presented annually since 2001. Each winner receives $5,000 that they may donate to the charity or charities of their choice.
Jerold S. Solovy Award
Mr. Martin’s selection for the Solovy Award recognized his long history of commitment to philanthropic and civic endeavors. He served on the board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago (BGCC) for nearly 20 years, including as board chairman from 2011 to 2014. In that role, he helped bring BGCC to the forefront of youth services in Chicago. Mr. Martin also has been a member of the executive committee and nominating committee of the board of the Lyric Opera of Chicago since 2006 and serves on the board of Crown Family Philanthropies. In addition, he has held various leadership positions in the American Bar Association and is a member of the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Character and Fitness, serving by appointment of the Illinois Supreme Court. Mr. Martin recently was named to the Leaders Council of the Legal Services Corporation, a nationwide group of prominent lawyers and high-profile non-lawyers whose mission is to raise awareness for the critical need for increased funding for legal services to the poor.
Named for Jenner & Block’s esteemed late chairman emeritus, the Solovy Award honors firm lawyers who exemplify Mr. Solovy’s unwavering dedication to the organized bar, the public good and the highest ideals of the legal profession. The award has been presented annually since 2011.