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Award recipient collage from top left Kristian Eliason, Karen Newton Cole, Latham & Watkins, Tracy Suhr

2022 Awards Ceremony – Inspiring & Uplifting

We were back! It felt so good to be in the same room again to celebrate the dedication of pro bono volunteers and public-interest lawyers in DC. We came away energized and inspired and ready to face whatever challenges 2023 brings.

Giving back to the communities in which they work is a leading principle of Latham & Watkins. That is why we were honored to present the firm with our Law Firm Award. Not only do Latham lawyers and professional staff provide hundreds of thousands of pro bono hours to their communities, but they also support fellowships for recent graduates as they embark on public-interest careers. The firm sponsored more than 30 Equal Justice Works Fellows at legal services organizations here in DC and across the country. The firm has been recognized repeatedly for its pro bono service. Lastly, we are grateful for the firm’s encouragement of their attorney’s participation in outside organizations such as ours. Public Service Counsel, Director of Global Pro Bono Wendy Atrokhov serves as an active member of the Board of Directors. Wendy has brought invaluable insights to our work. We were pleased to honor the firm for its contributions to our organization and our community.

Tracy Suhr, Senior Attorney at the Department of Justice (DOJ) Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Office of Chief Counsel, stands out both for her dedication to pro bono and her drive to make pro bono work accessible for her colleagues. Over the last few years, Tracy has dedicated her time to a number of legal service providers in a wide variety of cases. She not only engages in pro bono work herself but also promotes pro bono work throughout DEA. Tracy gets tremendous satisfaction from seeing her clients feel the weight of their problems lifted, and her colleagues are inspired by her efforts to take on cases of their own. It was our privilege to present her with our Government Pro Bono Award.

Our Legal Services Award went to Kristin Eliason, Legal Director for the Network for Victim Recovery of DC. Kristin is a trailblazer in the emerging areas of Title IX representation and crime victims’ rights litigation as one of the few lawyers with extensive experience. She is always happy to share her expertise with other legal professionals working in those areas. Kristin also works to train the cadre of lawyers who hope to follow in her footsteps. She brings a unique focus to her work by centering survivor-defined justice, allowing clients to define justice for themselves and create goals to achieve that justice. Kristin embodies the true spirit of a public servant.

Lastly, as our community continues to face challenges, it is absolutely appropriate that we honored Karen Newton Cole, Executive Director of the Neighborhood Legal Services Program, with the Presidents Award for Public Service. Karen has tirelessly and fearlessly led the DC Consortium of Legal Service Providers and her organization through the darkest times of the pandemic. She has dedicated her career to public service and is always looking for ways to serve her community while keeping the client centered. Karen is a true inspiration to her clients and colleagues. We were thrilled to show her our appreciation for all she’s done for our community!

For more inspiration, rewatch our award recipients’ inspiring remarks on our Instagram Reels. Find us using @wash_lawyers 

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