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2019 Government Pro Bono Award: Marisa Schnaith

Marisa Schnaith is a pro bono superstar. Not only has she contributed an impressive number of pro bono hours, over 100 in the past year alone, but she has made significant contributions to the Department of Labor’s Pro Bono Program.

Marisa jumped into action as soon as she joined the Department of Labor as an honors attorney. She immediately started volunteering and has been a force multiplier, getting her fellow honors attorneys to volunteer at multiple clinics, moot courts, Street Law, and engage in individual representation through the D.C. Bar’s Advocacy and Justice Clinic. She shares with her colleagues her experiences, makes tailored suggestions to colleagues’ needs, and believes that “Pro Bono is great both for the lawyer doing it and the people being serviced.” Marisa has led by example, personally performing pro bono in a wide variety of capacities ranging from representational work to clinics. Notably, she fearlessly took on a representational matter alone, without prior experience or the benefit of knowing others at the Department of Labor who can speak to the experience, with a birth certificate gender marker case through the Whitman-Walker Gender and Name Change Clinic.

Marisa served as first the honors attorney representative to the pro bono committee and then was asked to be the Assistant National Office Pro Bono Program Coordinator, a role created specifically for her because of her organizational skills, drive, and leadership abilities. Marisa has quickly become essential to the Department of Labor’s pro bono program, including putting on events and trainings, keeping track of all the moving parts to the program, and keeping DOL’s SharePoint page up to date about pro bono opportunities. Importantly, she has created systems to ensure continuity of the program and information retention during pro bono committee transitions. Marisa consistently goes above and beyond, coming up with new ideas or suggestions and successfully implementing them. She is thoughtful and reliable and excels at keeping the rest of the pro bono committee organized and engaged.

Marisa is a true believer in the value of pro bono work and a model for both taking on pro bono opportunities herself and strengthening the pro bono program so that it continues to grow and serve the greater DC community.

Learn more about Marisa and the other awards recipients at our 2019 Awards Ceremony.

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