Last week, the Proskauer community gathered for the 16th Annual Golden Gavel Awards ceremony to celebrate and honor those lawyers and staff members who went far above and beyond to contribute to the Firm’s pro bono, corporate social responsibility and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion efforts in 2023. Congratulations and thanks to the following colleagues for their extraordinary commitment to public service.

Death Row Inmate Representation

Proskauer’s 35-year pro bono representation of a death row inmate, J.B. Parker, came to a successful conclusion when the 19th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida sentenced him to life in prison with the possibility of parole. It’s estimated that more than 100 Proskauer lawyers have worked on Mr. Parker’s case over the past three decades, involving a stay of execution, a re-sentencing trial in 2000, numerous post-conviction motions and extensive pre-trial discovery and litigation. Before reaching a second resentencing trial that was scheduled to take place in 2023, the State of Florida conceded that it would no longer seek the death penalty.

Settlement in Prisoner Rights Litigation

A Proskauer team negotiated a favorable settlement in a civil rights case on behalf of a prisoner in a correctional center, who sued several defendants for failure to provide adequate medical care for his serious medical needs. The team argued that the defendants’ unreasonable delays and refusal to provide appropriate medical care and treatment were in violation of the law. After the plaintiff’s claim survived a motion for summary judgment, the parties settled the case. The Court thanked the Proskauer team for its service, noting that the attorneys on the matter “do the profession and Proskauer Rose proud.”

Protecting and Preserving Voting Rights

In the run-up to the 2024 elections, Proskauer’s commitment to voting rights has never been stronger or more critical. Among many other voting rights and election-related projects in 2023, Proskauer teams submitted amicus briefs in two pivotal voting rights cases.

Gerrymandering in South Carolina

Last summer, a team filed an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court in Alexander v. The South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP on behalf of 30 historians and legal scholars specializing in the history of the Southern United States with a focus on South Carolina, race relations and election laws. The brief highlighted the strong resemblance between a racially gerrymandered map drawn in 1882 and the racially gerrymandered map enacted in 2022, both cutting out Black voting centers from the district at issue. The two gerrymanders, 140 years apart, both had the same intentions and the same results — to diminish the political influence of Black voters and the political parties that they favored.

Voter Prosecution in Florida

A Proskauer team filed an amicus brief on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU Foundation of Florida, the Brennan Center for Justice and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in the Third District Court of Appeal of Florida in Florida v. Miller. Ronald Miller was arrested in 2022 for registering to vote while ineligible. Unbeknownst to Mr. Miller, his prior felony conviction prevented him from registering and voting legally. The amicus brief argued that Miller’s prosecution and others like it reflected an unlawful expansion of Florida’s Office of Statewide Prosecution. The brief also highlighted Florida’s failure to properly administer its voting rights restoration system and the resulting chilling effect among disproportionately Black voters in Florida.

  • Isaiah Anderson – Chicago, Associate, Litigation
  • Laura Bergman – Boca Raton, Paralegal Specialist, Labor
  • Alexander Blutman – New York, Associate, Labor
  • Richard Corn – New York, Partner, Tax
  • Jay Jensen – New Orleans, Associate, Labor
  • Karen Molloy – Boca Raton, Legal Executive Assistant, Operations
  • Angelo Monforte – Boca Raton, Senior Paralegal, Litigation
  • Myron Rumeld – New York, Partner, Labor
  • Matthew Triggs – Boca Raton, Partner, Litigation
The Hip Hop Museum

The Hip Hop Museum, located in the Bronx, will provide a space for audiences, artists and technology to converge, creating unparalleled educational and entertainment experiences around the hip hop culture of the past, present and future. Its mission is to celebrate and preserve the history of local and global hip hop music and culture to inspire, empower and promote understanding. The museum is expected to open later this year. Proskauer teams have spent hundreds of hours helping The Hip Hop Museum with a variety of projects, including contract reviews, real estate matters, media and intellectual property advice and employment matters.

Asylum Victory

In February, a Proskauer team obtained a grant of asylum for our client, a bisexual man from Ghana who was brutally beaten by a homophobic mob. The Ghanaian police refused to assist him, and instead interrogated him about his sexual orientation and told him that he should be imprisoned because being gay was illegal in Ghana. Proskauer took the case in 2019 and represented the client at his asylum hearing in February 2023, at which the immigration judge stated that the claim was credible, well-documented and well-prepared. The judge convinced the attorney representing U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) to stipulate that our client deserved asylum and waive their right to appeal. The client was overjoyed upon receiving asylum, and Proskauer is now assisting him with his green card application.

Helping Children Access Immigration Status

Proskauer attorneys took on several matters representing children through Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) UK, which provides free legal help to young people and families navigating the UK immigration system. An estimated 215,000 undocumented children are living in the UK today, so the need for pro bono legal services is immense. Proskauer teams have already successfully submitted fee waiver applications on behalf of two applicants, both of which were approved by the government, and are now awaiting decisions on those applicants’ full citizenship applications.

Serving Nonprofits

Through LawWorks, Proskauer teams have provided critical support to several nonprofits doing incredibly impactful work. LawWorks is a charity working in England and Wales to connect volunteer lawyers with people in need of legal advice who are unable to pay and ineligible for legal aid and with the nonprofit organizations that support them. Proskauer attorneys have worked on a variety of matters, including corporate governance, contract review and numerous real estate and lease questions.

Benefits Appeal Victory

In April, a Proskauer team took on a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) appeal for a client who relies on government benefits to meet her basic daily needs due to a variety of physical and mental health conditions. The team prepared a compelling case on a very short timeline and succeeded in securing PIP for the client for a five-year period at an enhanced rate; the best possible outcome. The client was thrilled with the result, which affords her significant relief and greatly helps to meet her needs.

Serving Nonprofits

Proskauer attorneys in the Paris office continued to provide critical pro bono assistance to several nonprofits doing important work.

This year, Proskauer attorneys provided significant assistance to LOBA, an organization supporting women who were victims of sexual violence. The Firm also worked closely with YES Akademia, which enables underprivileged youth to gain self-confidence and succeed in school.


Proskauer’s education initiatives provide our students with enrichment skills and concepts designed to meet the students’ needs for college, careers and beyond. We recognize that education drives so many lifelong issues such as wealth, health and housing. We inspire future lawyers, provide economic empowerment for underrepresented individuals and design and teach enrichment workshops for high-achieving students from low-income communities across the country. We coach at-risk youth in our London office and prepare advocates and leaders through our social justice classes across the U.S. We recognize the volunteers noted below.

  • Alicia Abboud – Los Angeles, Associate, Corporate
  • Tara Brailey – New York, Associate, Litigation
  • Daniel Brennan – New York, Help Desk Supervisor, Information Services
  • Jinyoung Joo – New York, Partner, Corporate
  • Aryian Kohandel Shirazi – Los Angeles, Associate, Corporate
  • Szeman Lam – Boston, Associate, Corporate
  • Katelyn Myers – New York, Senior Manager of Human Resources Administration, Office of COO
  • Libbie Osaben – Chicago, Associate, Corporate
  • Stephen Pevsner – London, Partner, Tax
  • Andrew Solomon – New York, Senior Manager of Business Services Recruiting, Office of COO
  • Nicole Swanson – New York, Associate, Litigation
Moot Court

Proskauer has participated in the Mentor Moot Court program for over 35 years. This program is a partnership between Fordham University School of Law and The Justice Resource Center. We host students in our offices during the fall and spring semesters. The students are provided a problem and meet with a group of amazing associates throughout the semester who teach them about the law as it relates to the problem and coach the students on public speaking, professionalism, critical thinking, listening and a range of soft skills. Our associate mentors continue to work beyond the program and serve as mentors for the students as they navigate college and careers. We recognize:

Corporate Social Responsibility Leadership

Our corporate social responsibility initiatives are run across the country and in London. Our service continues to grow because of the extensive commitment of our volunteers. We recognize the leaders who ensure our impactful work supports vulnerable and underrepresented individuals and families in the communities where we live and work.

  • Kathryn Benson – New Orleans, Office Manager, Operations
  • Leslie Bobb – Chicago, Office Manager, Operations
  • Penelope Pint – Boston, Legal Executive Assistant, Operations
  • Lindsey Tertan – Boston, Office Administrator, Operations
  • Aurel Van Iderstine – Los Angeles, Office Administrator, Operations
  • Natasha Wilson – London, Legal Executive Assistant, Operations
Economic Empowerment for Women

Since 2015, Proskauer has supported economic empowerment for women with many of our nonprofit partners and through our programs. We train women and teach them marketable skills so they can increase their incomes and support their families. We recognize the individuals below for their leadership.

Pro Bono and CSR: Special Recognition

These honorees deserve special recognition and thanks for their incredible contributions to the CSR and pro bono programs. Their tireless work has increased the scope and impact of Proskauer’s pro bono and CSR work, and has benefited countless clients and causes.

Talent Development and Community Building

This award is presented to individuals who have demonstrated excellence through their efforts to increase diversity, inclusion and equitable opportunities within the Firm. These recipients’ actions have directly impacted the Firm’s ability to attract, develop, motivate and retain diverse talent. The honorees below have invested significant time, energy and resources into creating inclusive, affirming spaces for diverse lawyers and staff members, advocating for their needs and challenging the Firm to continuously prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion in meaningful ways.

Advancing Change

This award is given to individuals who have been engaged in significant ways in the advancement of diversity, equity and inclusion, and through their actions have raised awareness of diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion issues in the Firm. As challenges to DEI mount, these individuals have forged new ground and continued to demonstrate the value of DEI in helping organizations move forward.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Award

This year, we honor the memory of partner Kate Gold by posthumously awarding her the Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Award. This award is given to an individual who has actively engaged in fostering an inclusive culture that is free from bias and who has served as a role model for others. The recipient acted as a sponsor and ally in championing gender equity and worked to remove barriers and improve the working experience and engagement levels of women in the Firm.

Kate’s 25-year tenure as an employment litigator is a testament to what this award stands for, as it was marked by her unwavering dedication to her clients, her astute legal acumen and her remarkable ability to always find the time to show up for, listen to and champion others. Kate was a pillar of support and mentorship, particularly to women in law by encouraging them to reach their full potential, and so we are proud to honor her memory with this award.

  • Kate Gold
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Photo of Wendy Dessy Wendy Dessy

Wendy Hattler Dessy is the director of corporate social responsibility for Proskauer. She oversees all aspects of employee engagement, board service and corporate social responsibility for the Firm..

Through a host of initiatives, the Firm endeavors to advance education, raise awareness of veterans’…

Wendy Hattler Dessy is the director of corporate social responsibility for Proskauer. She oversees all aspects of employee engagement, board service and corporate social responsibility for the Firm..

Through a host of initiatives, the Firm endeavors to advance education, raise awareness of veterans’ issues, and improve opportunities for women in Africa through literacy and education.

Some of her most impactful programming has included creating an Adopt-a-School initiative, and establishing partnerships with both The Institute for Veterans and Military Families and Village Health Works. Wendy has also created local partnerships across the country in the cities and communities where Proskauer employees live and work.

Prior to joining Proskauer, Wendy served as Executive Director for NYC Cool Roofs and Manager of Public/Private Partnerships for the Mayor’s Office of Service and Volunteerism from 2010 to 2014. Wendy held various positions within the Bloomberg administration and campaigns from 2005 to 2010.

Photo of William C. Silverman William C. Silverman

William C. Silverman is a partner responsible for leading Proskauer’s global pro bono efforts, which provide assistance to individual clients and nonprofit organizations in litigation as well as transactional matters. He focuses on identifying and securing pro bono opportunities and partnerships for Proskauer…

William C. Silverman is a partner responsible for leading Proskauer’s global pro bono efforts, which provide assistance to individual clients and nonprofit organizations in litigation as well as transactional matters. He focuses on identifying and securing pro bono opportunities and partnerships for Proskauer lawyers and ensuring widespread participation in these projects.

Bill has robust private and public sector experience and a strong criminal and civil background. He has worked extensively on government investigations and white collar criminal matters, as well as complex civil litigation in federal and state courts. He also served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he led criminal investigations, conducted trials and handled Second Circuit appeals.

Throughout his career, Bill has dedicated himself to the promotion of equal access to justice through pro bono service, particularly in the area of family court, anti-trafficking, and immigration.

Bill spearheaded a partnership among several law firms, corporations and the New York City Family Court to provide free legal advice to pro se litigants. The New York City Family Court Volunteer Attorney Program now has more than 400 volunteer attorneys from 40 major firms and corporations. Bill also helped build a coalition of organizations in a successful effort to secure additional Family Court judges in New York. He is now part of an effort spearheaded by Chief Judge Janet DiFiore to simplify the New York Court System from 11 trial courts to three.

Bill serves as counsel to the New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition. In that capacity he has been a strong advocate for changes in the law and public policy to protect victims of human trafficking and bring perpetrators to justice. He also represents individual clients in this area, including a successful federal lawsuit brought on behalf of a trafficking victim against her traffickers. For his work, he was named by domestic violence nonprofit Sanctuary For Families as one of “New York’s New Abolitionists.”

Bill has spoken at numerous conferences and events, including New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman’s Hearings on Civil Legal Services and the American Bar Association’s Equal Justice Conference. In 2014, he attended a meeting at the White House with Vice President Joe Biden and other policymakers on the need for access to legal services in immigration proceedings.

Bill has been recognized for his public service with the Abely Pro Bono Leadership Award from Sanctuary For Families and Columbia Law School (2019); the Special Leadership Award for All-Around Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility & the Law from City & State Reports (2015); the Commitment to Justice Award for Outstanding Partner from inMotion (2008); and the Matthew G. Leonard Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Achievement from MFY Legal Services (2007).

Outside of his work at the firm, Bill serves on various committees and non-profit boards. Bill is currently chairman of the Fund for Modern Courts, a non-partisan citizen organization devoted to improving New York State courts, and is formerly chairman of Legal Information For Families Today (LIFT), an organization devoted to unrepresented litigants in Family Court.