Alston & Bird’s IP Litigation Group has been honored with the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation’s (AVLF) 2013 Phillip S. Heiner Award for its dedication to the nonprofit’s Domestic Violence Project’s Safe Families Office, through which the firm has made a standing commitment to provide volunteer attorneys to represent survivors of family violence.
In 2013, that commitment expanded. As Elizabeth Whipple, director of the Domestic Violence & Guardian ad Litem Programs for AVLF, explained upon presenting the award:
“David Frist, a senior associate in Alston & Bird’s Intellectual Property Group, had been taking domestic violence cases for about a year when he decided to think a little bigger. It didn’t take long for his thoughts to translate into action . . . it resulted in a groundswell of volunteerism by the IP Litigation Group that is unparalleled in the Domestic Violence Project.
“Over the course of a year, the volunteer attorneys from the IP Litigation group took on 60—60—cases. The commitment spread like wildfire. One attorney with cases under his belt would bring another attorney with him to court for a case, and before you know it that person was taking a case and mentoring another colleague. David himself took seven; Dave Kuklewicz, a spectacular seven (and he speaks Spanish!). Matt Howell not only took cases, but mentored several attorneys and fanned the flames with David Frist from the beginning. One special person, Tim Dewberry, took an astounding 29 cases. He might have gotten a bit carried away. And I love him for it. Josh Weeks, Richard Seeger, Alex Barnett, Ed Bonapfel, Kacy McCaffrey, Matt McNeill, Steve McNiff and Sean Simmons all represented survivors of family violence this year.”
Whipple noted the grave importance of such work. “In our Domestic Violence work, an attorney can honestly save a life. He is a shield whose strength emboldens victims of violence to come back to court and face their abusers. He is a guide through a process that, faced alone, could defeat the boldest among us. He is one voice telling abusers that their violence will not be tolerated.”
From L-R, David Kuklewicz, Associate, Alston & Bird; Liz Whipple, Director, Domestic Violence &
Guardian ad Litem Programs for AVLF; and David Frist, Senior Associate, Alston & Bird.