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Quarles & Brady Names Winners of Michael Gonring Pro Bono Award

Pro Bono

Firm annual pro bono efforts surpass 23,600 hours

MILWAUKEE, Wis. — The national law firm of Quarles & Brady LLP today announced the recipients of its Quarles & Brady Michael Gonring Pro Bono Award (The Gonring Award). The 2017 honorees include a team of attorneys led by Matt Splitek and Rachel Graham, as well as E. King Poor, and Emily Fons. The firm is donating $1,000 to nonprofits designated by each team/honoree. The announcement was made during National Pro Bono Celebration Week, October 22 - 28. The award is named in honor of retired firm partner, Michael Gonring.

A team of attorneys in the firm's Madison office, led by Matt Splitek and Rachel Graham, received the Pro Bono Team of the Year Award. Partnering with the ACLU and Juvenile Law Center, this team has brought suit in federal court against four Wisconsin state officials citing unconstitutional use of solitary confinement and inhumane conditions for two Department of Corrections units. Splitek focuses his practice on class actions and intra-company disputes, including shareholder lawsuits, corporate governance disputes, special litigation committees, and stock appraisal actions. Graham focuses her practice on administrative and appellate litigation including representing Wisconsin businesses in administrative contested case proceedings and juridical review of environmental permitting decisions.

E. King Poor, a partner in the firm's Chicago office, received the Pro Bono Partner of the Year Award. King has worked for years to coordinate and lead pro bono cases in appellate courts across the country. King uses these appointments to work with younger associates, providing them hands-on opportunities to work on an appeal. King is chair of the firm's appellate practice group. He has represented clients in more than 100 appeals, including those involving arbitration, class action defense, commercial litigation, creditors rights and bankruptcy, employment, environmental claims, real estate disputes, school law, trusts and estates, and government regulatory matters.

Emily Fons received the Pro Bono Associate of the Year Award. Emily heads up the Volunteer Lawyer Project with Legal Action of Wisconsin where she helps find legal representation for petitions at domestic abuse injunction hearings. This year she worked with the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinic and Milwaukee Justice System to bring a recurring clinic to the Sojourner Family Peace Center. The new clinic assists individuals already receiving services through the Center. This includes sexually abused women and children and homeless women living in the attached shelter. Fons is a member of the firm's Business Law Practice Group. She maintains a comprehensive transactional practice, assisting clients in mergers and acquisitions, antitrust law, international trade, and general corporate law.

The Gonring Award, named in honor of retired firm partner Michael J. Gonring's longstanding pro bono leadership and commitment to justice for the poor, honors a volunteer attorney(s) or team who has demonstrated dedication to the development and delivery of legal services through one or more pro bono projects during a fiscal year. Gonring served as the firm's national pro bono coordinator for 15 years before his retirement in 2016. He established the firm's pro bono program and made it part of the fabric of Quarles & Brady.

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