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The Earl G. Harrison Pro Bono Award

Our dedication to serving the public good traces its roots to the founding of the Firm in 1935. We continue that commitment today with our pro bono efforts on behalf of individuals who could not otherwise afford legal representation and for a wide spectrum of local, regional and national public interest law centers and nonprofit organizations.

In 1997, in support and recognition of those individuals in the Firm dedicated to maintaining this tradition of public service, Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP established the Earl G. Harrison Pro Bono Award, an annual award in honor of one of its founding partners.

In his home city of Philadelphia, Earl G. Harrison was recognized for his great professional abilities as well as his unfailing responsiveness to the needs of the community. He served as vice president of the University of Pennsylvania in charge of law and as dean of its Law School. He was an officer and director of the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia and general campaign chairman of the Philadelphia United War Chest, a predecessor of the United Way. Mr. Harrison also served as director of the Philadelphia Area Council of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP. He was a trustee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, of the University of Pennsylvania and of the Philadelphia (Bok) Award (of which he was also a chairman).

The Earl G. Harrison Pro Bono Award is presented each year to a current Firm attorney who has a distinguished record of pro bono service. The Firm selects an honoree with a demonstrated record of service that consists of a single outstanding achievement of enduring value to the public good; a leading role in inspiring and sustaining pro bono service by other Firm personnel; a sustained record of personal pro bono service over a number of years; or some combination of these and other factors.

In 2008, the Firm established the Earl G. Harrison Community Service Award. This award recognizes a Firm attorney or staff member who demonstrates an unfailing commitment to helping others in the community and who has set an example for others to follow with regard to volunteering and giving back to the community.

Winners of the Earl G. Harrison Pro Bono Award and the Community Service Award include:


2018

Click here for photos and full profiles of the 2018 award winners.

 

 

 

2017

 

Click here for photos and full profiles of the 2017 award winners.

 

Arleigh P. Helfer III
Mr. Helfer, an associate in the Ligation Services Department, was honored by the Firm with the 2018 Earl G. Harrison Pro Bono Award. Helfer successfully briefed and argued the 2018 Third Circuit victory in Berardelli v. Allied Services Institute, helping a young student whose private school refused to allow her to bring her service animal, a seizure alert dog named Buddy, to school. Helfer was also recognized for his many efforts in support of the ACLU, notably including an amicus brief in Kuren v. Luzerne County on Sixth Amendment claims.

 

Charles F. Harlow
The Firm honored Mr. Harlow, an associate in the Ligation Services Department, with the 2018 Earl G. Harrison Community Service Award. Harlow’s tireless efforts over the years as a leader in his church and in the San Francisco community have touched and improved many lives. He serves as a “Stake President” for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or Mormon Church, overseeing as a volunteer leader the 6 congregations totaling 3,500 members in San Francisco’s East Bay area. He supervises dozens of initiatives to help disadvantaged individuals.

 

 

 

Jeanne Schubert Barnum

Ms. Barnum, chair of the Firm's Construction Industry Practice Group, was honored by the Firm with the 2017 Earl G. Harrison Pro Bono Award. She demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to help undocumented abused or abandoned immigrant children achieve permanent residency status and a new life in America. Working in coordination with HIAS Pennsylvania and the Support Center for Child Advocates, Ms. Barnum has successfully taken several children through the three stages required for permanent legal residency in the United States.

 

Linda Giunta

The Firm honored Ms. Giunta, Schnader’s Time/Billing Manager with the 2017 Earl G. Harrison Community Service Award. Her tireless efforts over many years have improved the lives of children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, as well as their families. Each year, Ms. Giunta volunteers for fundraising activities and events, working with the children, and getting others involved in these efforts. She works most closely with Michael’s Way, which a family member founded, and St. Christopher's Hospital for Children.

 

2016
Rebecca Lacher

Schnader alumna Rebecca Lacher received the 2016 Earl G. Harrison Pro Bono Award for her passion and commitment to pro bono work. Early in her career at Schnader, Ms. Lacher volunteered to assist Chairman David Smith in leading Schnader's defense of the City of Philadelphia, which sought to end its rental subsidy to the Boy Scouts of America due to the organization's discriminatory policies. Ms. Lacher also was at the core of the effort to free pro bono client Anthony Wright, who spent 25 years in prison for crimes he did not commit before being exonerated by a Philadelphia jury in August, 2016. Her work extended beyond Mr. Wright's release--she continued to help him obtain identification, secure employment and access community resources.

Peter C. Langenus

The firm honored Peter Langenus with its 2016 Earl G. Harrison Community Service Award for his lifelong commitment to community service. Mr. Langenus served as Commander of VFW Post 653 for many years, spearheading fundraising for the VFW's support system for local veterans and organizing Memorial Day commemorations. He is actively involved in researching and advocating on behalf of service members who are eligible for awards such as the Silver Star. In addition, Mr. Langenus served for many years as a troop leader for the Boy Scouts and remains involved in their community service projects. Each year, he organizes and accompanies a troop to cook dinner and sleep over at a soup kitchen and homeless shelter.

2015

Nicole Reimann
Schnader alumna Ms. Reimann was the firm’s 2015 recipient of the Earl G. Harrison Pro Bono Award. She joined the firm in 1989 and logged thousands of hours on more than 15 separate pro bono matters. The constant theme in these cases was helping children in serious need. Ms. Reimann spent significant time working on matters through the Support Center for Child Advocates and 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’s work embodied 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. 

Robert J. Williams 
Mr. Williams received the Earl G. Harrison Community Service Award for his devotion to the community through the use of 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. Mr. Williams also is a  volunteer 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. His service continues a longstanding firm tradition of dedication to the community. 

2014

Carl A. Solano
The firm honored Schnader alumnus Carl Solano with the 2014 Earl G. Harrison Pro Bono Award, recognizing his decades of service to pro bono clients in prisoner civil rights appeals, immigration proceedings, and cases implicating free speech and freedom of the press. Mr. Solano represented residents of Pennsylvania intermediate care facilities for the intellectually disabled who were seeking not to be bound by a settlement because their family members or guardians believed that the settlement negatively impacted their institutional placement and access to required care. After protracted litigation in the trial and appellate courts and lengthy settlement discussions, the parties reached a new settlement that provides significant protection to some of Pennsylvania's most vulnerable citizens. Mr. Solano was appointed to the Pennsylvania Superior Court in 2016.

Michele Thomas
Ms. Thomas was the 2014 recipient of the Earl G. Harrison Community Service Award. A Schnader staffer for over 25 years, Ms. Thomas has quietly and without fanfare spent much of her free time giving back to the community and inspiring others to do the same. When she learned a good friend was battling breast cancer, she jumped into action, organizing numerous fundraisers to help the friend defray expenses. Ms. Thomas also serves as a troop leader for her daughter's Girl Scout troop, where she has led the girls in projects such as selling lemonade for the Alex's Lemonade charity and making and donating blankets to the SPCA.

2013

Marla K. Conley
Schnader alumna Marla Conley was honored with the 2013 Earl G. Harrison Pro Bono Award through her devotion of more than 1,000 hours to more than 40 pro bono matters, as well as countless additional hours serving on the Pro Bono Committee, consulting with other lawyers and paralegals on pro bono matters, and helping to coordinate the Firm's pro bono activities at the Caton Village women's shelter. Ms. Conley assisted dozens of pro bono clients, helping on a wide variety of difficult tax and governance issues. She also served as co-chair of the Firm's Child Advocates Practice Group.

J. Denny Shupe
Mr. Shupe was honored with the 2013 Earl G. Harrison Community Service Award due to his deep and longstanding commitment to community service, which is consistent with the best traditions of the Firm's founders and leaders throughout its history. Most recently, Mr. Shupe's community service has been focused on helping to create and ensure the success of the nonprofit organization New Leash on Life USA, a training program dedicated to improving the lives of prison inmates and saving the lives of at-risk shelter dogs. The prison inmates are trained to care for and socialize the dogs to enhance their adoptability. The inmates attend workshops on life skills and job readiness, and many receive opportunities for paid internships in the animal care field when they are paroled. Mr. Shupe also has been an active volunteer and leader of the USO, locally and nationally, as well as on many other boards and committees for military and veteran-support organizations.

2012

Keith E. Whitson
Mr. Whitson was honored with the 2012 Earl G. Harrison Pro Bono Award for his sustained record of performing pro bono work, numerous outstanding achievements of enduring value, and providing inspiration and mentorship to many of his colleagues. Mr. Whitson has worked on death penalty and prisoner civil rights cases, among others, but much of his work and the focus of his mentorship and leadership, has been in immigration cases. He has handled a few cases that required him to advocate for expansion of traditional definitions of persecuted social groups. In one case, Mr. Whitson successfully argued that an Iraqi persecuted for giving assistance to the United Forces in Iraq was entitled to asylum. In another matter, he obtained asylum for a Rwandan woman who was a victim of domestic abuse.

2011

H. Lee Schwartzberg
Mr. Schwartzberg was honored with the 2011 Earl G. Harrison Pro Bono Award for his commitment to pro bono matters, particularly with regard to adoptions and family court matters. He has handled a number of cases on behalf of children referred to Schnader by the Support Center for Child Advocates. In addition, he coordinated the efforts of multiple agencies and interested parties to ensure clients ended up in safe and loving environments with welcoming adoptive parents. Mr. Schwartzberg also contributes to the pro bono culture at the Firm by actively serving on Schnader's Pro Bono Committee.

Paul H. Titus
Paul H. Titus, recipient of the 2011 Earl G. Harrison Community Service Award, was recognized by his peers for his long and impressive record of service to the community. Throughout his career, he has not only served as a leader and a mentor to attorneys at Schnader, but has also served as a leader and role model through his work with many different educational, civic and community organizations in and around Pittsburgh. Mr. Titus is active with the Thea Bowman Academy, meeting monthly with students, teaching constitutional law to 7th and 8th grade students and running a mock trial program.


2010

Nilam A. Sanghvi
Ms. Sanghvi, a Schnader alumna and recipient of the 2010 Earl G. Harrison Pro Bono Award, was honored for her leadership role and unwavering commitment to the defense of William J. Barnes in his homicide trial. Ms. Sanghvi not only had a substantial hands-on role in the pre-trial preparation and the trial itself, but also was responsible for organizing and supervising a team of eight lawyers and two paralegals who spent hundreds of hours investigating facts, reviewing complex medical documents, and preparing numerous legal motions and briefs. Ms. Sanghvi's tremendous work on the Barnes case was only the latest in a series of important pro bono matters to which she has devoted countless hours.

Marilyn Z. Kutler
Ms. Kutler, recipient of the 2010 Earl G. Harrison Community Service Award, has been an active leader in the Committee of Seventy, a government watchdog group that advocates for effective government and fair elections in the Philadelphia region. Ms. Kutler served as a member of the group's board and executive committee, and on other important committees. She also has been actively involved with other community groups, including Barrack Hebrew Academy, for which she is a past President and board member; the Auerbach Central Agency for Jewish Education, on whose board she serves; and the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.

2009

Gordon S. Woodward and Amin (Zach) Zacharia 
Mr. Woodward and Mr. Zacharia, co-recipients of the 2009 Earl G. Harrison Pro Bono Award, each dedicated significant time, effort, and commitment to providing representation for Guantánamo Bay detainees. Their work ensured that the detainees were treated humanely and their constitutional rights were not compromised. Their efforts – which were considerable and involved sacrifice in terms of time, travel, research, advocacy and litigation – made genuine and meaningful differences in the lives of the individuals represented.

Allison Fihma Drachman 
Ms. Drachman was the 2009 recipient of the Earl G. Harrison Community Service Award. This award recognizes individuals who demonstrated an unfailing commitment to helping others in the community and who have set an example for others to follow with regard to volunteering and giving back to the community.

2008

Bruce P. Merenstein
Mr. Merenstein received the 2008 award for outstanding pro bono service. He has been actively involved in pro bono matters since his arrival at the Firm as an associate, and his level of commitment is matched only by the level of his conviction. Mr. Merenstein has lent his experience in supervising pro bono matters, in immigration, prisoner rights, and other areas at the both the trial and appellate levels. He also is frequently asked to provide his greatly respected opinion on a multitude of pro bono matters, and is always willing to help out. His dedication to those without access to the justice we expect from our legal system is an inspiration for us all. 

Judith F. Olson
Ms. Olson, a Schnader alumna, was the inaugural recipient of the Earl G. Harrison Community Service Award, a new award created to recognize individuals who have demonstrated an unfailing commitment to helping others in the community and who have set an example for others to follow with regard to volunteering and giving back to the community.

 

2007

 

Stephen A. Fogdall
During his time at Schnader, Mr. Fogdall has devoted 1,000 hours to pro bono matters, despite a busy case load, with great skill and conviction. He has left his mark on approximately a dozen pro bono matters, but two cases stand out. In 2006, Mr. Fogdall reached an impressive settlement in a prisoner civil rights case, in which he alleged that the prison employees deliberately promulgated and enforced a policy within the Department of Corrections of not informing inmates when they test positive for hepatitis. And in July 2007, Mr. Fogdall argued in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in another prisoner rights case, also involving inadequate medical care. These are only examples of the superior work he has been doing on his pro bono cases.

2006

Nancy Winkelman
On the 10th Anniversary of the Earl G. Harrison Award, it was fitting to present the award to someone who demonstrated a career-long dedication to pro bono service - Schnader alumna Nancy Winkelman. Ms. Winkelman tirelessly represented her pro bono clients, mainly in the areas of prisoner civil rights and immigration. She lent her experience in supervising pro bono matters in numerous other Third Circuit pro bono appeals. Along with her own pro bono practice, Ms. Winkelman served for many years as co-chair of Schnader's Pro Bono Committee, where she provided her advice and guidance to help our pro bono program run successfully. Outside of Schnader, Ms. Winkelman was a member of the Board of Directors of the Disabilities Law Project for more than a decade.

2005

Mark Momjian
Mr. Momjian, a Schnader alumnus, has for many years dedicated not only his own time to pro bono cases, but has inspired and sustained pro bono service by other attorneys by helping identify pro bono opportunities and mentoring associates doing pro bono work. He has teamed up with many leading organizations in the city - including the Women's Law Project, The Center for Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights, the AIDS Law Project, the Senior Law Center and the Homeless Advocacy Project, to name a few - to provide top-rate legal services on cases that have significant impact on the law in Pennsylvania and across the country. Mr. Momjian also has handled or supervised many direct-impact cases over the years. And, as chair of the Firm's 70th Anniversary Committee he recommended Schnader designate a large portion of the funds available to commemorate this milestone by establishing five summer fellowships at public interest law centers in cities where we maintain offices.

2004

Joseph A. Sullivan
Mr. Sullivan, a Schnader alumnus and the Firm's first Pro Bono Director, was recognized for his many accomplishments in cementing and institutionalizing Schnader's pro bono program. With his trademark enthusiasm and energy, Mr. Sullivan initiated many practices throughout the Firm and inspired Schnader lawyers to increase their amount of pro bono work. He founded Schnader's partnership with Caton Village, a shelter for women recovering from substance abuse and for their children. He began Schnader's Pro Bono Newsletter and instituted the Earl G. Harrison Pro Bono Award in 1997 as a way for the Firm to acknowledge and honor the contributions by individuals at the Firm to public service. Mr. Sullivan also serves on the boards of many community and public interest legal organizations and has been recognized for his contributions by the Pennsylvania Bar Association with its Louis J. Goffman award, the highest honor given for pro bono service, as well as with its Pro Bono Award for Philadelphia Country.

2003 

Paul H. Titus
Mr. Titus, counsel in our Pittsburgh office, was recognized for his distinguished pro bono service encompassing such diverse matters as the death penalty, the First Amendment and employment discrimination. His achievements include integral roles in the reversal of several death penalty convictions, continued service to the Pennsylvania Civil Rules of Procedure Committee, participation in the American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) Special Registration Project involving immigrants and the INS (now part of the Department of Homeland Security), ongoing contribution to the Firm's representation of a Pittsburgh police officer in a First Amendment case, and efforts as a teacher of civics and law at a school in an economically depressed area of Pittsburgh.

2002 

Kevin C. McCullough
Mr. McCullough, former counsel in our Philadelphia office, was honored for his pro bono work in family law matters as well as his distinguished leadership role as the de facto manager of all of the Firm's volunteer social and educational programs and events at Caton Village, a comprehensive treatment center for homeless women recovering from substance abuse and their children under the age of 12.

2001

Carl K. King
Mr. King, a Schnader alumnus, was a partner who began his public service to the Greater Boston community more than 30 years ago as a volunteer lawyer for the ACLU. He served as chairman of his town's Zoning Board of Appeals and sat on the board of directors at My Brother's Table, a soup kitchen in Lynn, MA. For more than 10 years, Mr. King organized teams to race in the annual Pan-Massachusetts Challenge, the single largest weekend fund-raising event in the nation.

2000

Samuel W. Silver
Mr. Silver is a partner in our Philadelphia office with a distinguished record of pro bono service. His substantial pro bono services have centered in the area of capital punishment, handling numerous difficult cases on the trial and appellate level. Mr. Silver has served as co-coordinator of the Prisoner Civil Rights Panel of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Mr. Silver was recognized specifically for his successful efforts in averting the reimposition of the death penalty in a complex capital homicide case and for his ongoing work in other capital cases.

1999

Mindy J. Shreve
Ms. Shreve, a Schnader alumna from our Pittsburgh office, was recognized for her key role in two important programs in the Pittsburgh area: P.O.W.E.R. (Pennsylvania Organization for Women in Early Recovery) and the Inner City Junior Development Program.

1998

William H. Brown III
Mr. Brown, of our Philadelphia office, has achievements in pro bono and public service that span more than 40 years and include a wide range of civil rights and civil liberties issues. From his service as the first chairman of the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to his recognition in 2002 as a "Living Legend" among minority pioneers in the profession, Mr. Brown has been one of the most widely respected leaders in the legal and business communities in the nation. In 1998, the Firm also recognized four individuals associated with the Firm for their outstanding achievements in pro bono and community service: Kathleen M. Leimkuhler, Joseph P. Lukens, Ralph S. Snyder and Jacqueline Swann.

1997

James D. Crawford
Mr. Crawford was a distinguished leader of the Firm's pro bono practice in our Philadelphia office. In 1997, he was a leader in preparing an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the successful challenge to the "indecent transmission" and "patently offensive display" provisions of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) in Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union. The Supreme Court declared these provisions unconstitutional on June 26, 1997.