Alston & Bird today announced the winners of the 2014 ABBY Awards, honoring a select group of lawyers and members of staff firmwide for their leadership in 2014. This is the fifth year of the awards program and a reminder of the firm’s longstanding tradition of celebrating its people and their work.
“The ABBY Awards mark a special day at the firm each year, when we take time to acknowledge the remarkable leadership of our esteemed colleagues across a broad range of pro bono, diversity, community service and other firm activities,” said Mary Benton, partner in the State and Local Tax Practice and the firm’s Pro Bono Partner. “Our culture and values advocate a strong commitment to service excellence and teamwork, and we are proud to honor those who have made a profound difference to our clients, to the communities in which we live and work and to our firm.”
In addition, Kevin Gooch, partner in the Finance Practice, was honored with Alston & Bird’s 13th annual “Diversity Leadership Award” for his exemplary commitment to the firm’s diversity and inclusion efforts. Recently named a 2015 Fellow of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, Gooch also serves as president of the Emerging 100 of Atlanta, the young professional auxiliary of the 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Inc.
The following is the complete list of ABBY Awards winners:
• Ward Benshoof (Los Angeles), partner in the Environmental, Land Use & Natural Resources Group – honored with the “Philip H. Alston, Jr. Award” for his dedication and advocacy work with Public Counsel, the nation's largest pro bono public interest law firm, on behalf of vulnerable individuals combating predatory lenders.
• Logan Buck (Raleigh), senior associate in the IP Patents/Biotechnology Group – recognized with the “F.M. Bird Award” for his dedication and commitment in implementing the Inventor Assistance Program that serves North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
• Rafael Lopez (Washington, D.C.), paralegal in the Energy Group, and Kathleen Hill (Los Angeles), associate planner – honored with the “Kenneth F. Britt Award” for Lopez’s continuous support of asylum and immigration cases and projects and Hill’s leadership and service with numerous nonprofits.
• Linda Herndon (Atlanta), director of conference services – recognized with the “Executive Staff Award” for her efforts and dedication to find ways to enhance every meeting or event while conserving firm resources.
• Meaghan Boyd (Atlanta), partner in the Environmental, Land Use & Natural Resources Group, and Emily Mao (Washington, D.C.), partner in the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Group – honored with the “Mentor Award.” Boyd was recognized for her supportive guidance and instilling independence and confidence in a junior associate, while Mao was recognized for seeking out diverse projects for a junior attorney and encouraging active involvement in diversity bar associations.
• The Dallas Pro Bono Team, including partners Darren McCarty and Sean Whyte; senior associates Mike Correll, Shaun Hassett and Jared Slade; associates Amanda Kelley and Paul Montemayor and legal administrative assistant D’Anne Kelly – honored with the “Pro Bono Team Award” for dedicating countless hours on a difficult case involving the sexual assault of a child in a local elementary school. The group also received assistance on the case from partner Jesse Jauregui (Los Angeles) and senior associates Aaron Block, Brendan Krasinski (Atlanta) and Kim Chemerinsky (Los Angeles).
• The Data Center Team, including Jeff Allaman, Mark Avera, Clay Blurton, Court Fowler, Dickson Hand, Al Leach, George Rice, Wes Settle, Bobby Sutton, Nola Vanhoy, Joe Varrasso and Jennifer Yang – honored with the “Service Moment of the Year Award” for seamlessly handling a crisis situation in the firm’s data center.
• Chelsea Smith (Dallas), office lead for the Dallas Sustainability Committee – honored with the “Sustainability Award” for creating and implementing numerous new programs, many of which were adopted firmwide.