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news: Press Releases: 2016 April: Recipients of 9th Annual Dushman Awards



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Brown Rudnick Announces Recipients of 9th Annual M. Robert Dushman Pro Bono and Community Service Awards

Annual awards created in memory of law firm partner and public interest advocate

Boston, MA, March 28, 2016 – Brown Rudnick, an AmLaw 200 firm with offices in the US and Europe, has announced the recipients of the 9th annual Brown Rudnick Center for the Public Interest M. Robert Dushman Pro Bono and Community Service Awards. These awards honor both a successful Brown Rudnick attorney and a non-attorney whose professional or work life has demonstrated the qualities and commitment to the public interest that distinguished the Firm’s late partner, M. Robert Dushman.

The Pro Bono Award was presented to two deserving recipients:

• Steven D. Pohl, a partner in the Firm’s Bankruptcy Group in the Boston office. Since the late 1990s, Steve has provided pro bono legal representation to individuals who are overwhelmed with personal debt or are on the verge of Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy. In 2010, at the request of the judges from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Boston, Brown Rudnick, through its Center for the Public Interest, to created Brown Rudnick’s Chapter 7 Debt Relief Pro Bono Project, a dedicated program to assist consumers, and was born. Working with the Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP) of the Boston Bar Association, Steve leads the Project and members of the firm’s Bankruptcy Group assist individuals in determining whether bankruptcy is an appropriate approach for them, assist them in preparing court forms and represent them at the meeting of creditors, if needed. Since the program’s inception in 2010, among all participating Boston firms, Brown Rudnick has assumed a leadership position in taking on debtor relief pro bono cases.

• Elizabeth A. Molino, is an associate in Brown Rudnick’s Commercial Litigation Group in the New York office. As part of the firm’s work with Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), Liz represented a 13-year-old girl facing deportation. Liz had to clear many difficult hurdles thrown in front of her by both an overburdened family court and an immigration court with a twenty-year backlog. Liz literally took her client by the hand and muscled her way to the front of the line. At one point, Liz actually burst through the doors of chambers and announced that it was time for a hearing when her case was being ignored. She also faced multiple ethical and due process issues that had to be very carefully worked through.  Liz faced all these challenges and others masterfully and with extraordinary moxie. 

The Community Service Award was presented to Marie Bernadeau, a Help Desk Support Specialist in the Firm’s Boston office. Originally from Haiti, Marie is a model for community service and charitable, and has dedicated herself to helping those in need in her native country. Most notably, she founded the nonprofit organization KOREKTHO, INC., (Committee for the Redevelopment of Thomonde) based in Mattapan, MA, which funds a scholarship program to aid children whose parents can’t afford to pay tuition to educate their children. She also established LEKOL KOREKTHO (KOREKTHO SCHOOL) in Thomonde Haiti, which educates and helps feed over 400 Haitian children each year.  For 15 years, Marie has served as the executive director of KOREKTHO and recently was nominated president of the organization.

According to Brown Rudnick CEO Joseph F. Ryan, “Our Brown Rudnick Center for the Public Interest and Charitable Foundation enhance our reputation, make us stronger and have a positive impact on our communities. Steve, Elizabeth and Marie exemplify our commitment to pro bono legal representation, charitable giving and volunteerism and illustrate the exceptional work we do. We applaud them for their commitment to giving back to the community.”

As part of the Dushman awards, Brown Rudnick will make three $2,500 contributions to non-profit charitable organizations chosen by Steve. Elizabeth and Marie.  Steve has directed his donation to be shared among the following organizations: Volunteer Lawyers Project, the Brown Rudnick Charitable Foundation, the Treehouse Foundation and for his annual bike ride to raise funds to help those with multiple sclerosis. Elizabeth directed her donation to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis while Marie selected KOREKTHO and the community school of Thomonde in Haiti.

About Brown Rudnick LLP
Brown Rudnick is an AmLaw 200 firm with offices in the United States and Europe. With relentless focus on the client’s objectives, the Firm represents clients from around the world in high stakes litigation and business transactions. Our clients include public and private corporations, hedge funds, venture capital funds, private equity funds, multinational Fortune 100 businesses, and start-up enterprises. We also represent investors, as well as official and ad hoc creditors’ committees in today’s largest corporate restructurings, both domestically and abroad. Brown Rudnick is among the vanguard of law firms advising clients in times of unprecedented opportunity, capital convergence and cross-border uncertainty.  The Brown Rudnick Center for the Public interest is an innovative model combining the Firm’s pro bono, charitable giving and community volunteer efforts. For more information, please visit

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