NEW YORK CITY, April 11, 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Joshua Sohn, an associate in the Litigation practice group of DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary US LLP, this month receives two prestigious awards for his pro bono work: the New York State Bar Association President’s Pro Bono Service Award in the young lawyer category, and an award from the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR).
This week the CCR is honoring both Sohn and DLA Piper at its annual President’s Reception, an event the organization says “celebrates the generous benefactors who are our indispensable partners in protecting and advancing fundamental rights for all.”
CCR’s honor was announced one day after Sohn learned that he will receive the prestigious New York State Bar Association President’s Pro Bono Service Award. Sohn worked as co-counsel with the CCR in two of the three significant pro bono cases he has been handling.
“Josh is a smart, hard-working attorney dedicated to the highest ideals of the law,” said Elizabeth Dewey, DLA Piper’s Pro Bono Partner. “His outlook is at once reasoned and compassionate. He shows us all how to make exceptional contributions to those in need while maintaining a solid private practice, and at the same time he is a genuinely nice person.
Dewey added, “We are very proud to say that he is part of our firm.”
In 2004 alone, Sohn gave more than 450 hours, pro bono, to three particular cases. In one case, he worked with the CCR as co-counsel in filing an appeal on behalf of the plaintiff class in Gulino, et al. v. NYC Board of Education. The plaintiffs in Gulino are African-American and Latino public school teachers who allege that the defendants improperly used two standardized tests known to have a disparate negative impact on minorities as a condition for teacher certification.
Because of a new state law passed during this case, members of the plaintiff class lost their full-time teaching positions. The schools now hire them only as per-diem substitutes, with dramatically reduced compensation. In 2004, Sohn and his co-counsel submitted appellate briefs in Gulino. The appellate argument took place in January, and Sohn continues to work on this case.
Sohn also is still working on another matter that he took on last year, again as co-counsel with the CCR: A case involving a Canadian citizen of Middle Eastern descent detained by US officials while in transit at JFK airport. The Canadian was eventually deported to Syria, where he was imprisoned for a year before Syria returned him home.
And also in 2004, Sohn helped the nonprofit organization Advocates for Children evaluate the constitutionality of a new standardized testing program for third graders. He worked closely with lawyers from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to evaluate the program, which aimed to end social promotion in New York City public schools.
The CCR’s President’s Reception honoring Sohn and DLA Piper will take place this Friday, April 14, in New York City. The NYSBA will honor Sohn at a luncheon May 2.
About DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary US LLP
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