Pro Bono Awards Honor Commitment to Community
MINNEAPOLIS (July 18, 2019) — The privilege of practicing law comes with a responsibility to ensure that everyone has access to the legal system, regardless of resources. As a result, Gray Plant Mooty encourages attorneys to spend a percentage of their time engaging in pro bono casework.
Each year, the firm recognizes attorneys for this commitment with either the “Pro Bono All-Star” or the “Pro Bono Shining Star” award. All-Star award recipients exhibit career-long commitment to their community and have established a legacy of positive impact on society. Shining Star recipients show exemplary initiative and leadership through pro bono work in the given year.
The firm recently announced the annual pro bono award recipients for 2018 — All-Star Max Schott and Shining Stars Amy Erickson, Raymond Konz, and Amanda McAllister.
Max Schott received his first All-Star award approximately 20 years ago, and since that time Schott has remained committed to utilizing his knowledge and position to improve the lives of others, earning him the distinction for a second time. Since he first began his career at Gray Plant Mooty, Schott has provided pro bono legal services to those seeking asylum in the United States. Schott has helped numerous people from all over the world escape persecution in their home countries based on political beliefs, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and other protected statuses. Many were facing imprisonment, torture, and even death.
Joy Reopelle Anderson, principal and co-chair of the firm’s pro bono committee, praised Schott for his ability to develop rapport with clients. “Many of these clients have a hard time opening up to attorneys,” said Reopelle Anderson. “Max has a remarkable ability to develop trust with clients and empower them to share their stories, no matter how painful.”
“It is a privilege to be able to help these individuals secure a life where they are free from persecution and able to take advantage of the rights and protections many of us take for granted in this country,” said Schott.
Schott obtains most of his asylum cases through The Advocates for Human Rights, a nonprofit organization devoted to international human rights standards. He also served on the organization’s board from 2010 to 2018.
Amy Erickson participated in numerous pro bono cases in 2018, contributing over 100 hours of service. Erickson worked on multiple cases from the Tubman Center — which helps individuals and families who have experienced relationship violence, elder abuse, addiction, sexual exploitation, or other forms of trauma — including helping a client obtain an Order for Protection from an abusive partner. In addition, Erickson’s agility and dedication was leveraged in an expungement case that involved multiple unseen hurdles and short deadlines, where she had to make filings with as little as a day’s notice.
Raymond Konz devoted 200+ hours to pro bono work in 2018. He worked on multiple matters for Children’s Law Center, representing the interests of children who are in foster care. However, most of Konz’s efforts were devoted to a litigation case involving a historical society. He led the firm’s representation of the society in the third litigation matter it has faced in the last decade. Konz conducted discovery, filed and defended motions, represented the client at an arbitration, dealt with a special master, and finally helped get the matter resolved. Konz is a passionate advocate for his clients and takes a just and composed approach to his cases, regardless of how combative they may be.
Amanda McAllister logged over 135 hours last year to pro bono work. McAllister co-represented a man seeking asylum because he was arrested and tortured for his political opinion. She helped draft an advisory, addressing complex immigration issues, for The Advocates for Human Rights to provide to volunteer lawyers throughout the Eighth Circuit representing asylum seekers making gender-based claims. She also worked on several other matters, including IP work for Jeremiah Program (a nonprofit focused on bringing families out of poverty) and working to help a woman pursue an Order for Protection. McAllister is a board member of the nonprofit organization World Without Genocide.
About Gray Plant Mooty
Gray Plant Mooty is a leading corporate law firm with one of the top franchise practices in the world. The firm’s attorneys and staff are recognized for providing exceptional service and value to clients globally. The full-service law firm has offices in Minnesota, Washington, D.C., and North Dakota. Learn more at www.gpmlaw.com.