• Print
  • Email

Public Profiles: Our People in the News

* * *

In May of 2010, after a week-long trial, Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP successfully obtained a full acquittal on murder charges brought against the Firm’s pro bono client William J. Barnes. Barnes was charged with causing the death of Philadelphia Police Officer Walter T. Barclay in 2007, 41 years after Barnes had shot and partially paralyzed Barclay.

Schnader took the matter on a pro bono basis and committed significant resources to fighting the charges and ensuring that Barnes mounted the best defense possible. Led by attorneys Sam Silver, Bruce Merenstein, and Nilam Sanghvi, the Schnader team also included attorneys Joseph Anclien, Leah Snyder Batchis, Chris Haaf, Jeremy Hekhuis, Kate Kleba, Julie Randolph, Paul Safier, and Emily Tetzlaff, and paralegals Adrienne Horn and Barbara Schramm. The unusual case involved numerous complex medical issues and required the Schnader team to investigate, locate, and review thousands of medical records from dozens of health care providers. The Schnader lawyers were able to track down medical providers who had treated Barclay decades earlier, as well as key medical records, that the prosecution had failed to uncover.  Click here to read more on the case.

* * *

On October 23, 2009, Schnader’s San Francisco office hosted clients and friends of the Firm for a screening of Mine, an award-winning documentary about the essential bond between humans and animals told against the backdrop of Hurricane Katrina. The film was part of the San Francisco Documentary Film Festival. Schnader attorneys from the San Francisco and Pittsburgh offices were heavily involved in two of the stories told in Mine. Jessie Pullins reluctantly left his dog J.J. behind when Hurricane Katrina chased his family out of New Orleans. A year later, Mr. Pullins discovered that his dog had been rescued and sent to a shelter in Southern California. A Katrina rescue worker then saw J.J. on the cable TV show "The Dog Whisperer" and contacted Mr. Pullins. A Schnader team led by Stephen Dye volunteered to represent Mr. Pullins on a pro bono basis to help him reunite with J.J. It then took a long legal battle to get the dog back from his adoptive owners. In another case, New Orleans native Malvin Cavalier was forced to leave his home to take shelter in the Super Dome, where pets were not allowed. He left his dog Bandit with food and water and a promise that he would return in a few days. Instead, Mr. Cavalier was evacuated to Houston. In the storm’s aftermath, authorities incorrectly concluded that Bandit had been abandoned. Mr. Cavalier returned to New Orleans months later and, with help, he was able to trace his dog to an adoption agency in Chester County, Pennsylvania and, ultimately, to an individual in Western Pennsylvania. Jennifer Callery and Jon Hughes took on Mr. Cavalier’s case. Although initial demands to return Bandit were rebuffed, he was voluntarily returned after a suit was filed against both the adoption agency and the adoptive owner. After the screening of Mine, Mr. Dye spoke to the audience and participated in a question and answer session. The film is scheduled to air on PBS on February 16, 2010 as part of the Emmy Award-winning series Independent Lens.

* * *

On September 15, 2007, Morgen Cheshire and Schnader were honored at the Delaware Valley Legacy Fund's (DVLF) "Heroes 2007" event. Schnader was named DVLF's Allied Organization of the Year (2007) in recognition for Morgen's hard work and dedication to DLVF's nonprofit legal needs.

* * *

On June 12, 2007, the National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) honored Schnader and other law firms for their dedication to justice for all with the 2007 Beacon of Justice Award. The Award was given in response to the courageous work being done in providing pro bono legal assistance to detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Schnader lawyers Elizabeth Ainslie and Gordon Woodward have represented a number of detainees at Guantanamo Bay since March of 2005. Helping Liz and Gordon on this matter has been Zach Zackaria, who has provided indispensable translation services.

* * *

On December 5, 2006, Samuel W. Silver was a co-recipient of the prestigious Wachovia Fidelity Award. Presented by the Philadelphia Bar Association, Sam won the award with Stephen D. Brown, a partner at Dechert LLP. Sam and Steve have been co-coordinators since 1993 of the Prisoner Civil Rights Panel for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; the panel is responsible for coordinating and assigning court appointments in prisoner civil rights matters to lawyers and legal firms that agree to take on such matters. The Wachovia Fidelity Award is presented annually by the Association to individuals who have helped improve the administration of justice and exhibited faithfulness to the profession.

* * *

Samuel W. Silver and David Pelletier received Pennsylvania Bar Association Pro Bono Awards and were individually honored for their dedication to public service and pro bono matters at the annual Bar Association meeting held on June 7, 2006 in Hershey. Sam was honored for providing 150 hours of free legal assistance through the Firm’s pro bono program and handling matters pertaining to capital punishment and prisoner civil rights. David was honored for providing more than 300 hours of pro bono services to those in need of legal assistance with civil rights and homeless advocacy matters. The PBA Pro Bono awards are presented to lawyers who have committed themselves to the cause of pro bono and work to provide free legal services to those in need.

* * *

HIAS and Council Migration Service of Philadelphia, an immigration and asylum public interest agency, recently honored five Schnader attorneys for their outstanding work on a recent asylum case: Dennis Suplee, Nancy Winkelman, Bruce Merenstein, Alison Finnegan, and Linda Alle-Murphy. At the Board’s Annual Luncheon held on September 29, 2005, the members of the Schnader team received pro bono awards from HIAS and Council recognizing their hard work, dedication and determination to seek a positive outcome in a challenging and complex asylum case. At the same event, Nancy Winkelman and her husband, Michael Lieberman, received HIAS and Council’s first ever Husband & Wife Pro Bono Award, aptly called, "Passionately Pro Bono."

* * *

The Center for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights named two attorneys from Schnader as its Pro Bono Attorneys of the Year at the organization's ninth annual gala June 7, 2005. Peter Greenberg, a partner in the Litigation Services Department, and associate Jennifer Diamantis were lauded for successfully securing the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by 12 members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly against a same-sex Bucks County couple for attempting to obtain a marriage license. In addition, Mark Momjian, a partner at the Firm, and associate Lauren Sorrentino were presented with Pro Bono Service Awards for their contributions. Two of the Firm's 2004 summer associates, Aisha Baruni and Kate Kleba, also received Pro Bono Service Awards.

* * *

Harold Cramer was honored by the Philadelphia Bar Association with the Bar Medal at its annual meeting in December 2003. The award, which is given by the Association for contributions "to the justice system or the community in a manner that is sustained, obviously extraordinary and worthy of emulation," recognizes Harold for his many years of service to the Jenkins Law Library, the central law library for the legal community in Philadelphia. "Jenkins," as the library is commonly known, has served as the designated repository for certain rare legal treatises and reference works as well as a working law library for many lawyers from large and small firms alike. Harold has been an active advocate of ensuring that Jenkins continually provides state-of-the-art information services systems at a time of rapid development and ongoing change. Philadelphia Bar Chancellor Audrey C. Talley recognized Harold as "one of the driving forces" behind the success of Jenkins as "the premier institution in our legal community" during the award presentation.

* * *

J. Denny Shupe received the 2003 Defense Research Institute (DRI) Community Service Award for his active leadership as president of the USO of Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey (Liberty USO) and related organizations. DRI is the primary national and international association of lawyers, insurance companies and corporations (including members of the Fortune 500) concerned with the defense of civil actions. DRI presented Denny with the award at its annual meeting in October 2003. The DRI Community Service Award honors a member whose "unselfish actions in community and/or public service have demonstrated an active and outstanding commitment to the improvement of the social and/or cultural well-being of the general public." Denny, a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel who took a leave of absence from his legal career to volunteer for pilot duty during the Persian Gulf War, is in his second term as president of Liberty USO and also serves as chair of the USO Affiliate Council, a representative body of all USO chapters throughout the United States. Under his tenure as president, Liberty USO opened a new military support center at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey and distributed more than half a million dollars of care packages for troops deployed overseas from Pennsylvania and New Jersey through the "Operation USO Care Package" program, as well as co-hosted an appreciation event in September 2003 for 5,000 armed forces personnel and family members of McGuire AFB. Through his work with Liberty USO and on committees such as the Army/Navy Host Committee and the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots programs, Denny has affected the lives of men and women in the armed forces stationed both in the United States and overseas.

* * *

In October 2003, Samuel W. Silver was selected as one of the winners of "The Lawyers on the Fast Track" award by The Legal Intelligencer and Pennsylvania Law Weekly (publications of American Lawyer Media, Inc.). The statewide competition recognizes rising leaders of the legal profession in Pennsylvania under the age of 40, as nominated by their peers. Nominees were cited for distinction in fee work, pro bono and others areas and were evaluated in four categories: development of the law, advocacy, community contributions and service to the Bar. Sam was recognized for a variety of achievements, including his successful first-chair trial experience in a number of civil cases and his pro bono successes, which include two victories in three years in which he led Schnader teams in reversing unjust death sentences imposed in Pennsylvania. Sam was also acknowledged for his service to the bar as co-coordinator of the Prisoner Civil Rights Panel of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In this role, Sam manages a program in which private firm lawyers willing to handle pro bono civil rights matters are appointed to do so in selected cases by the court.

* * *

In June 2003, Community Legal Services presented Dennis Suplee with its Equal Justice Award at its 2003 "Breakfast of Champions," in honor of his commitment to equal access to justice and public service. Dennis was the CLS Bar Campaign Chair for two years running (2001 and 2002) and made 2002 a record fund raising year for CLS. In his presentation to Dennis, Joseph Tate (a Schnader alumni) spoke of the inspiration of Bernard Segal that contributed to such a strong pro bono commitment at Schnader. CLS was founded in 1966 by leaders of the Philadelphia Bar Association to provide free civil legal assistance to low-income Philadelphians and is nationally recognized as a model legal services program.

* * *

In November 2002, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania saluted James D. Crawford at its 21st Annual Defending Freedom Dinner; at the end of the year, he stepped down after serving for more than 15 years as its President. As the ACLU put it: "With Jim's guidance, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania has become one of the largest ACLU affiliates in the country and one of the outstanding public interest law firms in this state. During the years spent under his leadership, the ACLU of Pennsylvania has excelled in the defense of a variety of civil liberties issues."

The ACLU also paid tribute to Schnader, noting that Jim and his colleagues have partnered with the ACLU in many key projects over the years, citing as an example the role of a Schnader team, led by Jim and Carl Solano, in preparing the first-ever brief on CD-ROM to be lodged with the Supreme Court of the United States. The amicus brief was part of the ACLU's successful challenge to portions of the Communications Decency Act that would have had a chilling effect on various kinds of artistic, educational and other legitimate speech on the Internet. (In March 2003, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated a successor statute, the Child Online Protection Act (COPA), for similar reasons, again citing extensively to an amicus brief drafted by Schnader lawyers.)

* * *

In a special edition of The Legal Intelligencer in Philadelphia on minority lawyers, William H. Brown III was recognized as a "Living Legend" among Minority Pioneers in the profession. The edition, published on July 22, 2002, included a capsule summary of Bill's achievements, focusing on his ongoing support for civil rights, stating: "Brown, currently a senior partner with Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, joined Norris Schmidt Green Harris & Higginbotham as a young associate in 1955, where he was mentored by the legendary Austin Norris. Prior to joining Schnader Harrison, he served as chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Brown has received numerous awards for the professional and civic work he has done in support of civil rights. He currently sits on the board of directors of United Parcel Service Inc., a top Firm client whose work he handled for years."

* * *

In a special ceremony in February 2002, the Penn Legal Assistance Office at the University of Pennsylvania Law School honored the Firm for its support for the law school's public service and clinical programs. Michael Fitz, dean of the law school, presented a special plaque to Firm representatives. In addition to recognizing the Firm, the plaque specifically cited Meredith Brennan, Nancy Winkelman and Mark Momjian for their work. In addition to working with Penn's student clinics, the Firm is a participating sponsor in the Public Service Program, the mandatory 70-hour public service requirement for all Penn law students. Over the past several years, a number of Penn law students have fulfilled their public service requirement by working with Schnader lawyers on pro bono matters.