Faegre Drinker is pleased to announce the recipients of the firm’s 2021 pro bono awards, which recognize individuals and teams for providing or supporting exceptional pro bono legal services.
In addition to a commemorative award, each individual recipient had the opportunity to direct a $1,000 charitable contribution from the Faegre Drinker Foundation to a partner nonprofit organization.
2021 Faegre Drinker Pro Bono Award Recipients
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Racial Profiling Team: Team members Emmanuel Brown, Elizabeth Casey, Charles Lange, Amanda Pasquini and Mark Taticchi were honored for their work to address a pattern of illegal discrimination in profiling Latino motorists and arresting them, apparently for the sole purpose of immigration law enforcement. The team was galvanized by the racial justice movement to work together with the ACLU of Pennsylvania on a lawsuit in a section 1983 action against six individual Pennsylvania State Police troopers based on allegations that they detained, arrested, and referred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) individuals encountered during traffic stops and in other chance encounters, because of their perceived Latino heritage, without any formal authority from ICE. After extensive negotiation, the team reached a substantial settlement that compensates the individuals for the unlawful discriminatory treatment and deprivation of their civil rights. The lawsuit also resulted in significant changes to Pennsylvania State Police policies and practices concerning immigration enforcement.
Jim Crow Juries Leadership Team: The team of Rory Collins, Kristen Reilly and Brenda McShane provided critical leadership for an important racial justice project. The Jim Crow Juries Project needed volunteers to represent men and women in Louisiana prisons to seek relief after the U.S. Supreme Court finally struck down a Louisiana Jim Crow law that required courts to convict even when some jurors did not unanimously find that the prosecutors proved guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The law sought to silence Black jurors and disproportionately impacted Black defendants. Individually and collectively reckoning with racial injustice in the early challenges of the pandemic, the leadership team stepped up to find a way to meaningfully contribute, bringing together Faegre Drinker colleagues to advance racial justice and provide ongoing leadership in this important work.
Peter Baldwin, Partner, Business Litigation, New York City: Baldwin was honored for his consistent and outstanding pro bono volunteer work since his arrival at the firm in 2018. As a former assistant U.S. Attorney, Baldwin has handled a wide range of cases in federal court, including civil rights matters, high-profile criminal matters, and appointments through the Criminal Justice Act (CJA) Panel.
Andrew Dettmer, Associate, Business Litigation, Indianapolis Downtown: Dettmer was honored for his overall commitment to pro bono, as well as his continued service representing incarcerated individuals in civil rights matters. Since joining Faegre Drinker in 2018, Dettmer has focused his pro bono practice on civil and constitutional rights, including work on gerrymandering and Fourth Amendment rights cases. In addition, Dettmer has carved a niche in advocating for incarcerated individuals, particularly in solitary confinement matters.
Karen Moses, Partner, Construction & Real Estate Litigation, Fort Wayne: Moses was honored for her long-time pro bono service and leadership. Throughout her Faegre Drinker career, Moses has been committed to ensuring pro bono work is a central and sustained part of her legal practice, and she has provided critical leadership and support to engage other attorneys and professionals in the Fort Wayne office and across the firm.
Amanda Semaan, Associate, Labor & Employment, Los Angeles: Semaan was honored for her outstanding pro bono leadership in the Los Angeles office. Over the past few years, she has been the primary attorney on 11 guardianship and adoption matters referred from both Bet Tzedek and The Alliance for Children’s Rights. In these cases, the adoptive parent or guardian clients are often close family members of the impacted children and have stepped up when the biological parents are unable to do so because they have lost parental rights, are incarcerated, or have died.
Lica Tomizuka, Partner, Real Estate, Minneapolis: Tomizuka was honored for her outstanding pro bono leadership in the Minneapolis office. From the start of her career, Tomizuka has consistently volunteered on a variety of transactional real estate pro bono matters, including lease negotiations, lease reviews, and transactions for the purchase and sale of buildings, expanding access to legal services for individuals and organizations that otherwise would not have easy access to this legal expertise.
2021 Service Moment of the Year Recipients
The Pro Bono Service Moment of the Year Award honors acts of kindness, generosity and selfless service that often happen behind the scenes and under the radar but exemplify the firm’s core value of service to others and fuels our pro bono program.
Rosa Arredondo, Legal Administrative Assistant, Benefits & Executive Compensation, Los Angeles: Arredondo was honored for her integral support on pro bono immigration cases in the Los Angeles office, including Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) and asylum matters. In one SIJS matter, the team received visas for two young clients. In August 2021, when the clients’ cases were terminated in Immigration Court, meaning they were no longer subject to deportation, Arredondo attended the hearing and was moved to tears by the experience. Arredondo continues to work with the family as they wait to apply for permanent residence.
Asylum Appeal Brief Team: The team of Michael Cockson, Liam Williams, Mary Strong and Allison Schten were honored for stepping in to provide time-sensitive and critical pro bono assistance to a Guatemalan mother and daughter who were appealing a denial of asylum before the Board of Immigration Appeals. In the final weeks of December 2021, the team received notice that the clients’ appeals brief was due on the first Monday in January. The entire team showed exemplary work in a short time, especially the first-year associates who worked tirelessly to wade through unfamiliar rulings and immigration regulations.