We recently celebrated our 23rd Annual Pro Bono Awards Ceremony.

We were delighted to welcome Karen Newton Cole, the Executive Director of Neighborhood Legal Services Program, who gave an inspiring keynote address. Covington has a longstanding partnership with NLSP, which helps DC residents, families and communities to eliminate barriers to overcoming poverty and to secure justice. 

During the event, we celebrated the many lawyers who provided at least 50 hours of pro bono service and announced our Pro Bono Lawyer and Pro Bono Team of the Year Awards.

See below a summary of the honors.

Charles F.C. Ruff Pro Bono Lawyers of the Year

Each year, we present the Charles F.C. Ruff Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year Awards to recognize at least one senior lawyer and one associate for exceptional commitment to pro bono service. The award is named for our late partner Chuck Ruff, who was an inspiration to a generation of Covington lawyers because of his devotion to the highest principles of our profession, including the obligation to provide pro bono service to those in need. Each year, we honor individual lawyers who, like Chuck, have served as pro bono leaders at the firm. ​

Charles F.C. Ruff Associate Pro Bono Lawyers of the ​Year: Jeff Huberman, Katrina Kleck, and Matthew Verdin

Charles F.C. Ruff Senior Lawyer Pro Bono​ Lawyers of the Year: Heather Haberl and Kevin King

James C. McKay Senior Counsel Pro Bono Award

The James C. McKay Pro Bono Award is a tribute to Jim McKay’s robust and effective pro bono practice following his transition from commercial practice. The McKay Award is awarded periodically to senior counsel who have followed Jim’s example through extraordinary commitment to pro bono practice after transitioning from full-time commercial practice.

James C. McKay Senior Counsel Pro Bono Award: Bob Trainor​

Pro Bono Team of the Year Award

Each year, we recognize the Pro Bono Team of the Year, which is awarded to a group of lawyers who exemplify the firm values of collaboration and excellence, as well as public service, and who are working together on an important pro bono matter.

Pro Bono Team of the Year Award: Medical Amici Supporting Gender-Affirming Care for Transgender Youth.

For several years, Covington has led an effort by the American Academy of Pediatrics and nearly two dozen other leading medical and mental health organizations that are pushing back against multiple states’ laws banning gender-affirming care for transgender adolescents. The team has drafted and filed amicus briefs in numerous cases challenging these bans, which serve to educate the courts about the science supporting and benefits of gender-affirming care. These briefs also share the medical community’s perspective that these bans are contrary to the accepted standard of care and can lead to grave consequences for the health and wellbeing of transgender adolescents experiencing gender dysphoria. The team is also defending some amicus organizations from invasive third-party discovery initiated by several states seeking to defend these bans. The team has already helped achieve several important victories, including in federal courts in Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, and Kentucky where the enforcement of those bans have all been preliminarily or permanently enjoined, relying in part on the briefs submitted by the amicus organizations. Some of those cases are now on appeal and will likely be the subject of further briefing.     

The team is led by Jean Veta, Cort Lannin, and William Isasi, and also includes Liz Baia, Dan Bernick, José Girón, Noah Goldberg, Mishi Jain, Emile Katz, Mike Lanosa, Emily Mondry, Ariel Mor, Dylan Silva, and Mike Rosenthal.

Photo of Kelly Voss Kelly Voss

Kelly D. Voss directs Covington’s pro bono program, overseeing a team of pro bono managers resident in the firm’s New York, San Francisco and Washington offices. She is responsible for guiding and promoting the firmwide participation of lawyers in Covington’s nationally recognized and…

Kelly D. Voss directs Covington’s pro bono program, overseeing a team of pro bono managers resident in the firm’s New York, San Francisco and Washington offices. She is responsible for guiding and promoting the firmwide participation of lawyers in Covington’s nationally recognized and far-reaching program of providing free legal representation to low-income individuals, to charitable organizations, and in matters that serve the public interest.

As pro bono counsel, Kelly plays an active role in the firm’s pro bono matters, facilitates meaningful pro bono engagement by firm lawyers and collaborates with legal service and public interest organizations to identify innovative ways to connect the firm’s resources to important needs in our local and global communities. Kelly also serves on the firm’s Charitable Committee.

Prior to joining Covington, Kelly was a trial attorney at Maryland Legal Aid, where she represented low-income clients in communities neighboring Washington, DC on a broad spectrum of matters, including housing, disability rights, education, bankruptcy and consumer rights.

Photo of Mary Burner Mary Burner

Mary Burner assists in directing the firm’s nationally-recognized pro bono program. She is responsible for guiding and supporting participation in the program, which seeks to improve access to justice and provide much-needed legal assistance to people and organizations of limited means.

Prior to…

Mary Burner assists in directing the firm’s nationally-recognized pro bono program. She is responsible for guiding and supporting participation in the program, which seeks to improve access to justice and provide much-needed legal assistance to people and organizations of limited means.

Prior to joining Covington, Mary was a staff attorney at Lawyers Alliance of New York, where she mentored law firm pro bono volunteers in providing transactional legal assistance to hundreds of New York City nonprofit organizations. Prior to that, Mary was an associate in the capital markets practice of an international law firm.