Volunteer Recognition: 2013 Cornerstone Honorees

  • 12/9/2013
  • Lawyers Alliance for New York

Two law firms and eleven individuals honored for business and transactional law pro bono; an additional 65 volunteers recognized for Hurricane Sandy disaster relief assistance.


"This year's honorees have delivered exemplary pro bono services, helping nonprofit organizations to provide vital programs and services to low-income communities in New York City," said John D. Lobrano, Chair of the Board of Directors of Lawyers Alliance. "We are also pleased to honor those volunteers who stepped up after Superstorm Sandy to provide legal assistance to organizations supporting victims of the storm."

Two law firms - Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP - are recipients of the 2013 Cornerstone Awards, New York's highest business law pro bono honor. The Cornerstone Awards recognize outstanding pro bono legal services to nonprofit groups that are improving quality of life for low-income New Yorkers. Lawyers Alliance for New York is also presenting 2013 Cornerstone Awards to eleven individual lawyers, selected from more than 1,300 business and transactional lawyers in Lawyers Alliance's volunteer network. This year, Lawyers Alliance also salutes 65 dedicated attorneys who volunteered to assist nonprofit organizations in the neighborhoods affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Lawyers Alliance presented these awards at a ceremony on November 6, 2013, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Credit Suisse, One Madison Avenue in New York City.

This year's institutional Cornerstone awardees are:

Kirkland & Ellis LLP: Attorneys from Kirkland have been volunteering with Lawyers Alliance since 2003, providing top-quality legal assistance to 40 different clients. Particularly impressive is the dramatic growth of Kirkland's business law pro bono work in recent years, which has helped nonprofit organizations to educate youth, stimulate economic development, and provide vital social services. During the past year, Kirkland worked on 22 active cases through Lawyers Alliance, including 14 new legal projects. This commitment reflects sophisticated pro bono at its best.

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP: For more than 20 years, Stroock has provided high quality service to more than 80 Lawyers Alliance clients on more than 140 matters. During the past year, the firm handled 38 active matters, including 18 new placements. Stroock has embraced multifaceted projects that often require immediate assistance, complex problem solving, or challenging business law issues. As a result, the firm is making an invaluable contribution to pro bono clients and the nonprofit sector.

"The institutional Cornerstone Awards represent Lawyers Alliance for New York's most significant honor and are reserved for exceptional firm-wide business and transactional law pro bono," noted Sean Delany, Executive Director of Lawyers Alliance.

This year's individual Cornerstone awardees are:

Jonathan Hillel Ashtor, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP: For his supportive intellectual property assistance to nonprofit organizations working in areas as varied as technology services (NPowerNY), academic support (New Leaders), and arts education (The Arts and Music

Allan S. Bloom, Paul Hastings LLP: For assisting seven nonprofit organizations with employment-related matters since 2009, while mentoring firm associates interested in pro bono services. After Hurricane Sandy, he helped Lawyers Alliance deliver an employment law webinar and develop informational legal alerts.

Ezra Borut, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP: For decade-long dedication and leadership of a team of Debevoise lawyers representing the Business Center for New Americans, a nonprofit organization working in microenterprise lending and technical assistance for businesses started by recent immigrants.

Davis Polk & Wardwell Legal Team: For providing sophisticated and timely legal advice to an economic development corporation regarding a strategic alliance to better Bronx communities.

Robert W Fagiola, Shearman & Sterling LLP: For providing vital real estate advice within a long-standing pro bono relationship to the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center, a cultural institution on the Lower East Side.

Sylvie C. Goursaud, Hogan Lovells US LLP: For supporting five nonprofit organizations with seven matters over the last four years, with a particular dedication to advocacy support and to organizations working with New York City's immigrant population.

Ji Kim, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP: For protecting a nonprofit organization's interests in a public-private partnership, one of many Lawyers Alliance matters he has undertaken since 2005.

Michael A. Lehmann and Jim Walsh, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP: For helping Lawyers Alliance advocate for revisions to New York State's Not-for-Profit Corporations Law.

Lisa A. Levy, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP: For utilizing her tax expertise to guide nonprofit organizations through the process of incorporation and tax exemption, improving educational outcomes for urban youth.

Lauren E. Manton, DLA Piper LLP (US): For providing complex real estate legal advice to supportive housing, Head Start, and healthy aging programs.

Attorneys from the following 24 firms and corporations provided pro bono legal services after Hurricane Sandy: Alston & Bird LLP; Arent Fox LLP; Chadbourne & Parke LLP; Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP; Credit Suisse; Dechert LLP; Duane Morris LLP; Goodwin Procter LLP; Kay Scholer LLP; Kirkland & Ellis LLP; Lowenstein Sandler LLP; McCarter & English, LLP; Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP; Nixon Peabody LLP; O'Melveny & Myers LLP; Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP; Paul Hastings LLP; Riemer & Braunstein LLP; Ropes & Gray LLP; Shearman & Sterling LLP; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP; Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP; Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP; and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.

About Lawyers Alliance: By connecting lawyers, nonprofits, and communities, Lawyers Alliance for New York helps nonprofits to develop affordable housing, stimulate economic development, promote community arts, and operate and advocate for vital programs for children and young people, the elderly, and other low-income New Yorkers. During the past year, the 12 staff attorneys at Lawyers Alliance worked with 1,428 volunteer attorneys from New York City’s finest law firms and corporate legal departments to represent 628 nonprofit clients on 1,026 matters. Lawyers Alliance also reaches nonprofit organizations and attorneys through its workshops, publications, and other educational programs.

"The individual recipients of the 2013 Cornerstone Awards have demonstrated a strong commitment to their nonprofit clients and the neediest New Yorkers served by these essential organizations," said Elizabeth Guggenheimer, Deputy Executive Director of Lawyers Alliance.

Contact: Emily Crossan, Lawyers Alliance for New York: or 212-219-1800.

  • Labor and Employment
  • Disaster Relief
  • Intellectual Property
  • Contracts
  • Economic Development
  • Incorporation
  • Corporate Governance
  • Other Nonprofit Law Issues
  • Childcare
  • Affordable Housing and Homelessness
  • Mergers, Strategic Alliances and Reorganization
  • Immigrant Services