Thursday, September 8, 2005
Davis Wright Lawyer Seth Levy Wins CYLA’s Jack Berman Award
By DAVID WATSON, Staff Writer
Seth Levy, a 28-year-old attorney who is of counsel with Davis Wright Tremaine’s Los Angeles office, has been named the recipient of the 2005 Jack Berman Award.
The 13-year-old award is given by the California Young Lawyers Association and honors a new or young lawyer for commitment to public service. It was renamed in 1994 for a San Francisco attorney known for his pro bono work who was killed in the July 1993 shootings at Pettit & Martin.
The award, which will be presented to Levy by outgoing State Bar of California President John Van de Kamp and California Chief Justice Ronald M. George tomorrow at the State Bar convention in San Diego, was among several announced by the State Bar over the weekend.
Levy yesterday called the honor “very exciting,” adding:
“It’s been quite a week.”
He explained that he was nominated for the award by two organizations with which he worked extensively for several years, the HIV/AIDS Legal Services Alliance and the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center’s Legal Services Department.
Levy said his work with HALSA has included handling Social Security disability appeals for individuals who have AIDS or are HIV-positive. He noted that he began working with the Gay & Lesbian Center while he was still in law school, and has helped to administer the organization’s legal clinic, worked on domestic partnership and domestic violence issues, done basic wills and estates work, and supervised law student interns.
His work with Davis Wright involves mostly intellectual property issues, including domestic and international patents.
Before joining Davis Wright, Levy was an associate with Pillsbury Winthrop. He has an undergraduate degree in agricultural and biological engineering from Cornell University and earned his law degree at from USC.
Among the other awards for public service work to be presented at the convention tomorrow will be the Loren Miller Legal Services Award, which will be given to Carl Poirot, who recently retired as executive director of the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program. Poirot will be honored for creating programs for at-risk children and domestic violence victims and starting legal advice clinics, among other activities.
Last year more than 3,500 lawyers volunteered services to indigent San Diegans through the SDVLP.
The Loren Miller Award was created in 1977 to commemorate the State Bar’s 50th anniversary.
The State Bar will also honor groups and individuals for pro bono work in nine categories:
•Los Angeles’ Kirkland & Ellis will be honored in the “large law firm” category for its opposition to Los Angeles County’s efforts to shut down Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Hospital. U.S. District Judge Florence Marie Cooper of the Central District of California enjoined the closure, and her ruling was later upheld by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
•Southern California Edison Senior Vice President and General Counsel Stephen Pickett will be honored in the “corporate” category for encouraging pro bono work by the company’s 80 attorneys.
•Retired Santa Barbara Public Defender Glen Mowrer will be honored in the “emeritus or limited active practice attorney” category for starting The Legal Project, which represents poor people charged with infractions and therefore not entitled to appointed counsel.
•Oxnard family law facilitator Robert Guerra will be honored in the “government” category for his assistance to Spanish-speaking immigrants in the agricultural community of Fillmore.
•Susan Ratzkin, a Thousand Oaks family law attorney, will be honored in the “solo practitioner” category for her work with the Ventura County Volunteer Lawyers Services Program.
•Lawyer Trina Roderick, an associate with Kletter & Peretz in San Francisco, will be honored in the “recently admitted” category for her efforts to find or maintain housing for low-income clients.
•The San Francisco office of Sonnenchein Nath & Rosenthal will be honored in the “medium law firm” category for its support of projects including a writing program for disadvantaged children.
•San Jose attorney Ruth Silver-Taube, a partner in Silver & Taube, will be honored in the “small law firm” category for her work mentoring young lawyers and advising clients at the South Bay Workers’ Rights Clinic at Santa Clara University.
•San Francisco-based Morrison & Foerster will be honored in the “distinguished pro bono service” category for its work on a class action which resulted in a $1 billion settlement under which the state agreed to provide money to repair deteriorating facilities at low-performing schools.
In addition to the awards ceremony tomorrow, on Saturday the State Bar will present its fourth annual Diversity Awards to the Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association and to Guy Rounsaville Jr., executive vice president and general counsel with Visa International in Foster City.
The SCCLA will be recognized for its work in helping minority law students increase their chance of success in law school, addressing the issue of retention of women in the legal profession, and providing legal services in minority communities.
Rounsaville will be honored as co-founder of the California Minority Counsel Program, which encourages corporate support for increasing opportunities for minority lawyers.
The Diversity Awards will be presented on Saturday by Van de Kamp and U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward Chen.
Copyright 2005, Metropolitan News Company