Pro Bono & Community

2021 Impact Award Winners

In a year marked by so much uncertainty, one thing never changed: Our unequivocal commitment to giving back and making a difference in our communities around the globe. This year the firm came together in a variety of new ways to make an impact at the Firm and in our communities.  We are proud to share with you the recipients of the 2021 Impact Awards. Congratulations to all of this year’s honorees, and to each of you who gave your time and talents in 2021. As we look ahead in 2022, we appreciate everyone’s continued support of the firm’s CSR and Diversity & Inclusion programs. 

Impact Award Winners

Diogo Metz - Associate, LIT
Diogo has made a substantial impact on Firm culture through his involvement as a co-chair of the Latinx PHAN and active member of Black PHAN. He has participated in panels focused on raising awareness on racial justice, intersectionality, and allyship. Most recently, he was a panelist in our latest global D&I program which discussed the Jewish experience/the history and effect of anti-semitism in today's world. Diogo has also been extremely involved in Firm recruiting efforts and annually participates in the "Meet the PHAN leadership" orientation for our summer and first-year associates.  On the pro bono front, Diogo shows consistent leadership on high impact projects. Diogo is currently leading a series of asylum applications for Peter Ajak, a South Sudanese political dissident and human rights activist, and his family. He also has taken a leadership role on the Model Acts Outreach Committee, leading communications with the City of Atlanta, and made significant contributions to the Firm's recent Supreme Court Amicus on voting rights with the Brennan Center. Diogo is a great example of a true ally and member of the Paul Hastings community driving meaningful change at the firm, in the legal industry, and in our communities.

Sarah Pearce - Local Partner, Corporate
Beginning in 2020, Sarah Pearce played a key role in an industry-leading initiative to create and launch the UK Model Diversity Survey (UK MDS) in partnership with the SRA and the American Bar Association. In this role, Sarah worked with the small committee of experts to help direct the launch the UK Model Diversity Survey and with another attorney at Reed Smith to provide pro bono GDPR advice and help prepare a Data Protection Impact Assessment ("DPIA")  to address any concerns about GDPR compliance and data privacy. The UK MDS is first-of-its-kind in London and has already been adopted by two dozen clients. Sarah’s work has also enabled Paul Hastings’ to more quickly to adopt the UK MDS since Sarah’s legal expertise ensured the UK MDS goals aligned with those of the Firm. Sarah separately played a role in the Firm’s internal efforts to begin collecting data in the UK office, which began in October 2021. In this capacity, Sarah created the Firm’s internal DPIA and worked with Behn Dayanim in the U.S. to ensure consistency in the two approaches. Sarah also worked with the Diversity team and Suzanne Horne and Cheryl Saban to address any employment-related risks in the proposed process and approach.

Sarah is a leader in the London Office's pro bono efforts, both helping the committee to advance the overall pro bono involvement amongst the lawyers but also in her own personal work. Sarah leads several high impact pro bono projects, including: working on multiple commercial agreements for the Wellbeing for Women; assisting the Billion Dollar Fund for Women with data privacy and commercial contracts; and designing a data privacy and compliance program for The Rainforest Alliance.

John Tso - Associate, LIT
John Tso is one of the co-founders of the Chinese Initiative on International Law (CIIL), working with people in China to understand and engage with international law and justice.  CIIL has been a Paul Hastings pro bono client for years.  The firm provides general advice to CIIL in terms of entity establishment and contract review, assists CIIL in organizing various activities and competitions, and supports CIIL in conducting research on different topics concerning public international law.  Many associates and junior staff of the Firm’s Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong offices have contributed to pro bono work for CIIL.  In addition, CIIL organizes the annual ICC Chinese Moot Court Competition -- the firm translates the moot court problem and other relevant materials, with associates serving as judges in the competition.  John demonstrates leadership in this high-impact pro bono initiative, and is a source of encouragement for our colleagues in the region.

Diversity Leaders

Jena Sold – Of Counsel, LIT, New York
Jena Sold has had a far-reaching impact on the firm’s culture of diversity and inclusion. From
serving as a strong role model and mentor, to showing her strengths as a solid attorney while raising two small children, to all the ways she has positively impacted the Firm by helping to push longstanding and ever lasting change, Jena is a true leader. Jena has been a repeat pioneer in the Firm’s Diversity efforts. Jena was a founding member of the NY Women's PHAN and played a critical role in helping the Firm to evolve it's parental leave, not once but twice. (note: the Firm now has one of the best parental leave policies in the market) If that was not enough, Jena is one of the founding members of PH Balanced and has been heavily involved in building the Initiative and helping it to evolve when mental health became top-of-mind and then again when COVID hit. She participates on many of the firm’s diversity panels including the annual "Meet the PHAN leadership" orientation for our summer and first-year associates. We applaud Jena’s efforts and allyship, and applaud her for being a Diversity Leader.

Gesa Bukowski – Associate, LIT, London
Gesa Bukowski played, and continues to play, an integral role in the formation of the Firm’s London D&I Network which complements the global PHANs, providing additional opportunities for the London office to get involved. As a co-chair of both the Disability and Outreach PHAN and Race & Ethnicity PHAN, Gesa is involved in most of the local diversity efforts in London. She singlehandedly developed our Disability & Outreach PHAN which engages everyone in open and frank conversations about disability and raises awareness of barriers faced by disabled persons. She is responsible for drafting the Firm’s first annual firmwide communication on workplace inclusive language for disabled persons and has also been involved in planning the first disabled persons training program in London. She is developing a mentorship scheme for disabled law students as well as collaborating with clients on race and anti-racism issues. Gesa is a true Diversity Leader, and we applaud her efforts.

Pro Bono Leaders

Andy LeGolvan & Randall Johnston – Associates, LIT, San Diego and Washington, D.C.
Andy LeGolvan and Randall Johnston successfully secured appeal rights for hundreds of thousands of disabled combat veterans and caregivers who were denied critical VA benefits under the VA Caregiver Program. Alongside our pro bono partner, Public Counsel, they overcame serious hurdles to obtain this ruling, with far-reaching benefits that will change the lives of countless veterans, caregivers, and their family members. 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims not only granted prospective relief in the form of an injunction requiring the VA to appeal rights going forward, but the Court also certified a class of claimants who were denied the right to pursue appeals to ensure they are notified of their restored appeal rights. The decision means hundreds of thousands of past veterans and caregivers over the last decade are now eligible to get review at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (and, if necessary, subsequent judicial review) of past VA decisions denying or revoking Caregiver Program benefits, with the potential to recover retroactive benefits. This is one of only a handful of class actions that have been certified in the Veterans Court—thus not only benefitting past, present, and future veterans and caregivers, but also setting favorable class action precedent for veterans in general. Read the full press release here. The pro bono team included Joshua Bennett, Scott Carlton, Michael Fisher, Kurt Hansson, Randall Johnston, Andy LeGolvan, Brian Moran, Barry Sher, Igor Timofeyev, and Sean Unger.

Andy LeGolvan and Randall Johnston are pro bono leaders who have led this impact litigation case from inception to favorable ruling, benefiting hundreds of thousands of veterans and caregivers. The Firm recognizes and applauds their pro bono leadership.

Melissa Garcia - Of Counsel, Corporate
Melissa has consistently served pro bono clients over the past decade. In one of her most impactful representations, Melissa advocated for a young women from Cameroon to obtain political asylum in the United States after being jailed and tortured in her home country. Melissa's impact on her client was immense and life-changing for both parties. A seasoned corporate lawyer, Melissa stepped beyond her comfort zone to advocate for her client in the courtroom, securing asylum for her client. Melissa leads by example, creating an inclusive and understanding work environment for everyone around her and actively serves in her community with three local nonprofits: the YMCA, No More, and Global Eye Leaders.

Melissa Garcia is a pro bono leader and we recognize and celebrate her dedication to the firm, her colleagues and her community.

Community Leaders

Kristin Roe, Practice Specialist (WDC)
For more than a decade, Kristin has led the WDC office's support of Garfield Preparatory Academy, whose student population is listed as 100% economically disadvantaged. She has forged strong relationships within the school community and is now a member of Garfield's Local School Advisory Team and School Improvement Team. For years, she has kept our partnership resilient, coordinating events to support teachers, students, and families. Kristin has personally coordinated Thanksgiving meals, provided holiday gifts, and stocked classrooms with supplies. This past year, she boosted support for Garfield by facilitating a partnership with the Washington Lawyers Committee and Georgetown University's Street Law to implement in-person summer enrichment classes focused on civic engagement for students most at risk for learning loss resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. This valuable new partnership would not have happened without Kristin’s tireless efforts. Additionally, our continued robust relationship with Garfield now includes their successful applications for grants from the Paul Hastings Equitable Education Fund totaling $75,000. Kristin’s dedication to Garfield has made a positive impact on the lives of the students at Garfield and everyone she interacts with along the way.

Kristin Roe is a community leader who strives to not only contribute in every way she can, but to help others contribute in whatever ways they can. We recognize and celebrate Kristin’s remarkable steadfastness to Garfield, Paul Hastings, and the DC community.

Sabrina Callender-Clewett, Junior Paralegal (WDC)
Sabrina Callender-Clewett is a junior paralegal in the corporate department of the WDC office who in her spare time takes online EdX law courses in preparation for law school. Thus far she has been accepted at Washington & Lee, Villanova, University of Maryland and University of Richmond. On top of her full schedule Sabrina dedicates every Saturday as a Serve Your City DC Online Tutor to help students in her community. Since September 2020, she has co-tutored a 4th grade student, doing science experiments, reading aloud through Zoom and explaining math concepts that were not clear from the first round of online instruction.

Sabrina’s dedication to community is also evident in her assistance on pro bono work and contributions to the Garfield School committee. We recognize and celebrate Sabrina’s strong sense of obligation to her local community as it has no doubt made a positive impact on the students of DC and those around her.

Pro Bono Coordinator of the Year
Joshua Yin - Associate, Palo Alto

Honorable Mention

Ian O’Keefe

Paul Hastings EEF Committee Members – Gerd Alexander,
Anthony Buscarino, Deysi Gonzalez, Kenya Jiu, Michelle Liffman, Holly Snow

Month of Service – Financial Literacy Workshop Team
Christie Smith, Julie Levier, Dan Earley, Patricia Liverpool, Rudy Van Kampen,
Dorothy Hayden