Davis Polk Special Counsel for Pro Bono Sharon Katz was honored on September 26, 2016, at the Sanctuary for Families 20th Annual Abely Awards. The annual event honors individuals who have made a difference in the lives of domestic violence and sex trafficking survivors.
Ms. Katz received the Abely Pro Bono Achievement Award for her lead role in expanding high quality, sensitive pro bono service for marginalized survivors of domestic violence. As Special Counsel for Pro Bono, Ms. Katz works closely with individual associates and supervises numerous Sanctuary for Families matters ranging from U-visas, T-visas, VAWA petitions, and individual custody cases and child support matters to complex federal suits addressing systemic immigration policy failures.
The Abely Awards celebrate the life and legacy of the late Maryellen Abely, an alumna of Columbia Law School and an associate at Davis Polk. Ms. Abely was one of the first pro bono lawyers at Sanctuary for Families’ Legal Center and a tireless advocate for the rights of victims of domestic abuse. She expanded the type of pro bono work that Davis Polk undertook and encouraged many lawyers to volunteer their time to Sanctuary clients.
Upon receiving the award, Ms. Katz remembered Maryellen Abely as committed to the elimination of violence against women. “No one worked harder than Maryellen to help domestic violence victims. To this day, Maryellen’s legacy inspires us to continue the fight against all forms of gender violence.”
Sanctuary for Families is New York’s leading service provider and advocate for survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking and related forms of gender violence. Each year, Sanctuary empowers thousands of adults and children to move from fear and abuse to safety and stability, transforming lives through a comprehensive range of services.