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Quarles & Brady Names Winners of Michael Gonring Pro Bono Award

News Release

Milwaukee — The national law firm of Quarles & Brady LLP today announced the recipients of the firm's Michael Gonring 2020 Pro Bono Awards. This years' award were given to the Team of the Year, Partner of the Year, Of Counsel of the Year and Associate of the Year. The firm donates $1,000 to nonprofits designated by each team/honoree.

"Through our annual Michael Gonring Award, we underscore our commitment to pro bono work as a core value at Quarles & Brady," said Mike Levey, national pro bono partner. "This year's winners are exceptional attorneys who have made a tangible difference in their communities through their impressive pro bono efforts."

Travis Eliason - 2020 Pro Bono Partner Recipient

Travis Eliason, partner in the firm's Chicago office, is receiving the award for his work as a Guardian ad Litem (GAL), individually and in collaboration with others at the firm, for children in Cook County, Ill. His pro bono work has been important recently, as a new judge began appointing GALs in most cases and Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS) became overwhelmed with GAL assignments. Eliason strengthened the relationship between CVLS and the firm, acting as liaison between CVLS and handling special requests from CVLS.

Rodney Ott - 2020 Pro Bono Of Counsel Recipient

Rodney Ott, of counsel in the firm's Phoenix office, is being recognized with the Michael Gonring Pro Bono award for his representation of an 84-year-old client who was taken advantage of and denied of her life savings by her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter. A Zoom trial was held in early October and the judge awarded the client $213,000.

Christian Yingling - 2020 Pro Bono Associate Recipient

Christian Yingling, associate in the firm's Washington, D.C., office, has been recognized for her monthly volunteer work with a non-profit law firm to represent victims of domestic violence who are seeking protective orders in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court and Circuit Court. Through this program, Yingling represented eight women so far this year.

James Goldschmidt, Lauren Zenk and Sydney VanBerg - 2020 Pro Bono Team Recipient

James Goldschmidt, Lauren Zenk and Sydney Van Berg were selected for their role in filing a petition to the Wisconsin Supreme Court and successfully restoring a 2014 "ghostwriting" rule that allows attorneys to draft or assist in drafting a pleading, motion, or document filed by a self-represented litigant without signing it. The petition argued that a 2018 modification that required attorneys to identify their names and bar numbers on pleadings, motions and documents for self-represented litigants had a negative effect on attorney pro bono work.

The Gonring Award, named in honor of retired firm partner Michael J. Gonring's longstanding pro bono leadership and commitment to equal justice for the poor, honors attorneys who have 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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