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Covington Pro Bono Awards

August 9, 2004

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 9, 2004 - On August 3, Covington & Burling held its Fourth Annual Pro Bono Recognition Reception to celebrate and recognize the many lawyers who devote their time and energy to public service work. 

Each year, Pro Bono Lawyers of the Year Awards are presented in memory of the late Covington partner, Charles F. C. Ruff.  At least one senior attorney and one associate who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to pro bono legal services in the prior year are named Charles F. C. Ruff Pro Bono Lawyers of the Year.  This year's recipients were John Hall, Jason Criss, Heidi Doerhoff, and Jennifer Saulino.

Professor Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. of Harvard Law School and author of Brown v. Board of Education, All Deliberate Speed was the keynote speaker at this year's event.  Professor Ogletree spoke about Mr. Ruff, his own experiences in the Public Defender's Office of Washington, D.C., and the importance of introducing law students to pro bono work.

In addition to the Ruff award, lawyers in the firm's New York office received a special recognition award for dedicating thousands of hours enlisting and training pro bono counsel for 160 families of uniformed rescuers killed in the line of duty at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.  Covington lawyers personally represented about 30 of those families.  San Francisco-based partner David Brown and the firm were honored by Patricia R. Johnson, President of Rebuilding Together, for ongoing commitment and service to this organization which preserves and revitalizes houses and communities for low-income homeowners, particularly those who are elderly, disabled, and families with children. 

As part of this awards program each year, all firm lawyers who provided 50 or more hours of pro bono legal services in the prior year receive a special recognition award.  The 50-hour mark is based on goals established by the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct and the District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct.  This year, 249 lawyers were recognized for surpassing the 50-hour mark. 

Covington handles hundreds of pro bono matters covering a broad range of issues, such as child welfare, civil rights and civil liberties, criminal and court-appointed cases, education outreach, the environment, historic preservation, and international human rights.  For thirty-five years, the firm has sent lawyers and staff to a rotation program with the District of Columbia's Neighborhood Legal Services Program, and recently added similar rotation programs with to the Children's Law Center and a legal clinic at Bread for the City. 

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