At this year’s second annual Pro Bono Awards, Davis Polk recognized eight associates for their commitment to and performance of high-quality pro bono work through charitable donations to be made in their honor.
We are pleased to present this year's honorees and acknowledge their outstanding pro bono achievements.
- First Place: Kevin Osowski – Kevin has contributed to the work of the Justice Task Force, and has worked on criminal appeals, criminal defense, resentencing petitions and clemency applications. He was one of the first volunteers for the Eastern District Pro Se Clinic and has continued to staff the clinic since its inception. He has been a leader in the firm’s work in assisting clients with name changes for primarily transgender clients and frequently supervises and assists younger lawyers with this work. He also has assisted numerous elder law clients in creating wills and other critical end-of-life documentation. Kevin is part of a team working on the development of gun safety litigation strategies and he has worked on amicus briefs at the US Supreme Court, Circuit Court and District Court levels in cases concerning gun safety regulations. He is currently involved in an asylum case and an effort to help save a Nevada death row inmate from execution.
- Second Place: Justin Sommers – Justin participated in a resentencing and criminal appeal, screened numerous applicants and filed four clemency applications during the Obama/DOJ Clemency Initiative. He assisted in securing a client’s release from state prison in Ohio; helped a mother in Kings County Family Court to keep custody of her child; and represented a criminal defendant in the SDNY under the CJA program. Justin has played a central role in an ongoing section 1983 litigation against the City and a foster care agency pending in the Eastern District of New York, where he is representing the sister of a child who disappeared from foster care approximately 8 years ago.
- Third Place: Sushila Rao – For more than 18 months, Sushila has been central to the work on gun safety strategy. Her work in the criminal justice system includes her current involvement with a team working on the defense of a criminal FCPA matter pending in the Southern District of New York, past participation assisting defendants at arraignments with the Bronx Defenders Desk Appearance Ticket Arraignment Program, and participation in a CJA matter on behalf of a client in the Southern District of New York.
- Sheila Adams – Sheila has worked on a variety of Veterans’ matters, a criminal appeal for the Brooklyn District Attorney and a section 1983 case on behalf of a Rikers Island detainee. She also successfully represented an incarcerated person under President Obama’s Clemency Initiative. Finally, she was awarded a Champion of Justice Award by the Brooklyn Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project.
- Paul Lee – A member of the M&A department, Paul is part of a team litigating in the District of New Jersey on behalf of a young immigrant who entered the country lawfully as the derivative of a former U-Visa holder, but is being denied status due to certain government lapses in processing times. He has also participated in the mortgage loan modification scam litigation.
- Serge Voronov – Serge has helped to draft and file a number of amicus and appellate briefs filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals addressing immigration, civil rights and criminal law issues. He has also been active in the CLSEPA Housing Clinic and with a complex LPR/Name Change matter on behalf of a Mongolian family.
- Philip Young – Philip is leading a team on a complex, ongoing Article 10 case pending in the Bronx County Family Court. He has also worked on asylum and immigration matters, habeas petitions, clemency applications and a federal wage and hour case.
- Yuan Zheng – Yuan has been involved with non-refoulement claim applications and an appeal case in Hong Kong. She is currently involved in representing a family from an African country challenging the Immigration Department’s decision to reject their non-refoulement protection request.