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Al Franken Gets Thanked
November 7, 2013

Al Franken's
Early Thanksgiving

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With Thanksgiving near, we rounded up a few stories of legal types doing good—because we know it's something many are thankful for. (Sorry for the "aww" moments, but it is Oscar season after all.)

McKinney Vento_ Sue Vento, Edward R. McNicholas, Senator Al Franken, Gregory Rolle (400x300)
The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty recently held its 15th annual McKinney-Vento Awards in the Renaissance Downtown Hotel. Among others, they honored Sen. Al Franken (not a lawyer, but adjacent to one in this photo) with the Stewart B. McKinney Award. He's with Sue Vento, Sidley Austin privacy co-chair and NLCHP board chair Ed McNicholas, and Gregory Rolle. The awards honor Congressmen McKinney and Vento, who co-authored the first major legislation addressing the national homelessness crisis.

Congresswoman Gwen Moore picked up the Bruce F. Vento award for her work, with Sen. Franken, to enact housing provisions of the 2013 Violence Against Women Act reauthorization. The Pro Bono Counsel Award went to Akin Gump. Its Dallas office successfully repped the Law Center pro bono in a case challenging city ordinances stopping faith-based groups from offering meals in public spaces to the homeless.

McKinney Vento_ NLCHP Executive Director, Maria Foscarinis_ Congresswoman Eddie Johnson (D-TX) (400x300)
NLCHP executive director Maria Foscarinis smiles with Congresswoman Eddie Johnson. Rep. Johnson emceed the event with ABC7/WJLA-TV News reporter Rebecca Cooper. A final award—for personal achievement—went to Judy Curtis, who fought back when a bank tried to evict her from her rental home. With some lawyers behind Judy, the court ruled that since the bank didn't provide a 90-day eviction notice, it had violated federal law.

Youngsters Go Formal for Justice

Go Formal For Justice gala photo—A&B (400x299)
The DC Bar Foundation Young Lawyers Network pulled off its first ever gala—"Go Formal For Justice"—and raised more than $55,000 for the Foundation. The sold-out crowd tallied 350 at Mayer Brown's K Street office. Above, Alston & Bird's Diego Marquez, Jason Schreuder, Alston's Tara Castillo, Crowell & Moring's Dalal Hasan, Alston's Rudy Missmar, Charlson Bredehoft's Aseil Abu-Baker, and Alston's Ed Britan. The DC Bar Foundation is the largest private funder of civil legal services in DC

Go Formal for Justice gala photo—sutherland (400x300)
Sutherland Comfort, the famed band made up of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan members, performed. Supporters from the firm showed up and had their own fun in a photo booth: from top left, Ben Marzouk, Wilson Barmeyer, David McIndoe, Jessica Englert, Rachel Tommelleo, Lillian Forero, Blair Scott, Meltem Kodaman, Daphne Frydman, Cheryl Aaron, Spencer Young, David Arrojo, Emily Plocki, Scott Bourne, and Ray Ramirez. Wilson and Meltem are both bandmembers, along with Dan Buchner and Naseem Nixon. (You may remember them from Banding Together.)

Go Formal for Justice gala photo—weiner (400x299)
Event chair Courtney Weiner of Lewis Baach didn't even mind that her dad, Arnold & Porter's Rob Weiner, tagged along. He's a past president of the DC Bar Foundation. Along with that photo booth above, attendees enjoyed a pop-up gin bar courtesy of the Gin Joint at New Heights Restuarant, a spirits tasting, and craft beer from Devil's Backbone and Bluejacket. In the non-alcoholic vein, guests could bid items—from lunch with Scandal inspiration Judy Smith to an NFL 2013 rookie premiere class autographed helmet—or try to predict the outcome of their upcoming trial with the help of a tarot card reader.

Live at the Apollo

IMG_9743 (400x300)
The Apollo Theater isn't just the starting point for stars like Diana Ross and Stevie Wonder—it recently became the inaugural location for a pro bono legal counseling expo for hundreds of local nonprofits and small businesses. Simpson Thacher pro bono counsel Harlene Katzman, center, tells us it stemmed from a meeting last year at the White House with VP Joe Biden and the Association of Pro Bono Counsel (where she's on the board) about issues of access to justice. We snapped Harlene with two other APBCo board members, Kaye Scholer pro bono counsel Alison King and Stroock public service project head Kevin Curnin. The theater is a fitting location for Harlene, who did some stage managing at venues like Carnegie Hall and Radio City in her prior life.

IMG_9747 (400x300)
Thirty law firms gathered at the Apollo to give out pro bono counseling to the more than 300 people, or presentations on topics from IP to real estate. (At left, Skadden's Virginia Hiner.) They partnered with local legal services organizations for the Small Business Legal Academy event, through folks like Start Small, Think Big executive director Jennifer DaSilva, NYPLI pro bono director Marnie Berk, and Urban Justice Center attorney Ted De Barbieri. Marnie tells us they're following up to match attendees who need further legal help with lawyers they can keep working with. And look out for more of these events: there's interest in Chinatown, Brooklyn, Queens, LA, and the Bay Area.

Foodies - See Mike Isabella and Spike Mendelsohn

Restaurant summit (400x214)

Join Bisnow and an esteemed panel of more than 15 speakers—from Knightbridge Management CEO Ashok Bjaj, to Graffiato chef and owner Mike Isabella—for our third annual DC Restaurant Development Summit. On Tuesday, Nov. 19, these luminaries in hospitality and development are gathering at the Boilermaker Shops to explore the permitting and alcohol board process, the next hot neighborhoods, and the various benefits and challenges of developing or operating in DC, MD, and VA. We'll also take a look at the changing landscape of the restaurant industry and what restauranteurs are looking for. Of course, it's all sandwiched between refreshments and a schmoozarama.

Send story ideas and feedback to Roksana@bisnow.com.

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