Skip to Content

Schnader Recognizes Robert Williams with Community Service and Pro Bono Awards

On July 30, 2015 by Schnader in Antitrust

PHILADELPHIA & PITTSBURGH — Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP is pleased to announce that attorneys Robert J. Williams and Nicole Reimann and have been recognized as the firm’s 2015 recipients of the Earl G. Harrison Community Service and Pro Bono Awards.

 

Earl G. Harrison Community Service Award

Mr. Williams, resident in the firm’s Pittsburgh office, is a devoted member of the community who uses his pilot skills for many groups in need including Pilots N Paws, which helps dogs and cats at risk and in need of rescue, and Veterans Airlift Command, which provides free air transportation to post 9/11 combat wounded and their families for medical and other compassionate purposes through a national network of volunteer aircraft owners and pilots. Soon, Mr. Williams will be volunteering for Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic, which provides medical air transport for patients departing from District of Columbia, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

For Veterans Airlift Command, Mr. Williams recently flew an Army lieutenant to and from Walter Reed Medical Center for specialized medical care. The West Point graduate was pronounced clinically dead after he stepped on an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. He lost both of his legs, suffered a traumatic brain injury and an aneurysm. He is alive today in large part because he received 500 units of blood from over 300 troops and 30 surgeries. Mr. Williams’ service to him was an important part of his recovery.

 

Pilots N Paws helps to relocate dogs and cats scheduled to be euthanized to no-kill shelters or families willing to adopt them.  The rescue missions Mr. Williams has flown for the organization have not been easy.  Shortly before Christmas 2014, Mr. Williams received a call from a shelter in Greensboro, North Carolina. A one-and-a-half-year old Briard named Ginger had been abandoned in rural North Carolina. The dog showed signs of aggression when approached by animal control officers, and was scheduled to be put down. The shelter intervened and discovered that the animal was exhibiting aggression because she was pregnant. A stay of execution was granted, but only long enough to allow the dog to birth and nurse her pups. An adoptive family was found in Wheeling, West Virginia, but time was up and transportation was needed.

 

Along with another pilot, who flew the dog from Greensboro to Charleston, North Carolina, Mr. Williams flew from his home in Pittsburgh to Charleston and finally Wheeling to deliver Ginger to the adoptive family. Although he planned the mission well, the weather was worse than forecast. Shortly after takeoff, Mr. William’s airplane entered a cold cloud layer and began to accumulate ice, an extremely risky situation. He was just about to scrub the mission and return to base, when weather radar showed a hole in the clouds and the air traffic controllers cleared him for an alternate route. Mr. Williams successfully, and safely, completed the mission and delivered Ginger to her new home.

“People often ask me about the costs and time commitments associated with these efforts. When you consider the heroic actions of these members of the military or the helplessness of these animals, you realize that no price is too much to pay, to help another living creature – human or animal,” said Mr. Williams. “It is where we find our greatest humanity. It is where we find our greatest purpose.”

Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis Pittsburgh Managing Partner George McGrann stands with Harrison Award Community Service Winner Bob Williams and his wife, Kelly.

 

Earl G. Harrison Pro Bono Award

Since joining the firm’s Philadelphia office in 1989, Ms. Reimann has been passionately committed to pro bono work, logging thousands of hours on more than 15 separate matters. The constant theme in these cases has been helping children in serious need. In this vein, Ms. Reimann has spent significant time working on matters through the Support Center for Child Advocates and has fully embraced-and embodied––the goal of the Support Center “[t]o advocate for victims of child abuse and neglect with the goal of securing safety, justice, well-being and a permanent, nurturing environment for every child.” 

 

Ms. Reimann has also handled civil rights cases for children. A notable and recent example of her efforts includes a case she agreed to take on for a 12-year-old girl suffering from treatment-resistant epilepsy. Like many individuals with this condition, she requires a service dog that can sense a seizure before it happens. The dog is critical for the emotional and physical well-being of the child, but she is not allowed to bring the dog to school. For more than a year, Ms. Reimann has been pursing litigation under the Americans with Disabilities Act to enable her client to have her service dog with her at school.

 

“Pro Bono work has enriched my life in many ways. However, if I had to pick one, it is this: It has forced me to confront and name my privileges, including economic, social, ability, and white privilege. Many of the children I represent enjoy no privileges at all,” Ms. Reimann said. “We give voice to their needs within the legal system.”  

Ms. Reimann’s work embodies everything the Earl G. Harrison Pro Bono Award was created to recognize: tireless advocacy for vulnerable or powerless clients who might otherwise be denied the benefits and protections of our legal system. 

Schnader Harrison Segal and Lewis Pro Bono Committee Chairman Stephen Fogdall, Harrison Award Winner Nicole Reimann and firm Chairman David Smith.

 

ABOUT THE EARL G. HARRISON AWARDS 
The Earl G. Harrison Pro Bono and Community Service Awards were named for one of the firm’s original partners and are presented annually to a firm attorney or staff member who has a distinguished record of pro bono service. The firm selects an honoree with a demonstrated record of outstanding achievement of enduring value to the public good, a leading role in inspiring and sustaining pro bono service by other firm personnel, or a sustained record of personal pro bono service or community service over a number of years. The awards reflect the tradition and collective belief of Schnader: that law is more than a business, and it should include using our skill, talent, and wisdom to improve access to justice for every individual and to advance the common good. Earl G. Harrison‚ in whose memory the firm gives these awards‚ was both a great lawyer and a remarkable humanitarian, who, after World War II, worked to convince the western nations to both open their own borders to those displaced persons liberated from the Nazi concentration camps‚ and to support the creation of the State of Israel‚ where Jews who could not face returning to their former homes could emigrate. 

 

ABOUT SCHNADER HARRISON SEGAL & LEWIS LLP 

Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP is a law firm of approximately 160 attorneys with offices in Pennsylvania, New York, California, Washington, D.C., New Jersey, Delaware, and an affiliation with a law firm in Jakarta, Indonesia. We provide corporations, municipalities, nonprofit organizations, and individuals throughout the world with innovative, practical, and cost-effective solutions to their business and litigation needs. Since 1935, our mission has remained the same: excellence in practicing law, responsiveness to clients, and the provision of public service to bring about a just and ordered society.