Awards & Accolades

Gibson Dunn is exceptionally proud of its pro bono program.  We deeply appreciate the continued recognition our firm’s pro bono program receives each year from myriad community and professional organizations.  A few of these recognitions from recent years are reflected below.  Additionally, we as a firm take the time annually to honor our own lawyers for the impressive pro bono work they do.  The most notable example of this is our Frank Wheat Award, given out every year to the individual and team of lawyers who have done some of the most exemplary pro bono work for that year.  We invite you to read more about this award and the recent winners below.

  • Gibson Dunn Wins Pro Bono Team of the Year from DV LEAP: On October 10, 2019, Gibson Dunn was named Pro Bono Team of the Year by the Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project (DV LEAP) at its annual Tip the Scales of Justice Celebration. Since 2016, Gibson Dunn has partnered with DV LEAP in representing a survivor of domestic abuse in an appeal—now before the Supreme Court, to be heard in December 2019—concerning the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The Gibson Dunn team includes Amir Tayrani, Melanie Katsur, Kellam Conover, Shannon Han, Charlotte Lawson, and Claire Chapla, as well as former associates Chris Baum and Aidan Taft Grano.
  • The Legal Aid Society Honors Gibson Dunn with a 2019 Pro Bono Publico Award: In October 2019, The Legal Aid Society honored Gibson Dunn as one of the recipients of its 2019 Pro Bono Publico Award for outstanding service to The Legal Aid Society and its clients. In addition to recognizing Gibson Dunn, it also honored two individual attorneys from the firm’s New York office for their exceptional involvement over the course of the year: Shirleen Barclay and Nathan Strauss.
  • Gibson Dunn Wins Law Society of England and Wales’ Excellence in Pro Bono Award: On October 23, 2019, the firm won in the “Excellence in Pro Bono” category at the Law Society of England and Wales’ Excellence Awards 2019. Ryan Whelan and Charlie Griggs accepted the award in recognition of the work completed to criminalize “upskirting” in England and Wales.

  • Gibson Dunn Honored with National Immigration Law Center’s Courageous Luminary Award: On October 3, 2019, the firm was recognized for its work on behalf of the immigrant community generally, and specifically for its work in collaboration with NILC and other groups filing a lawsuit in Vermont challenging retaliatory, unlawful actions by ICE and other government agencies.  Amanda Aycock, who plays a leading role on the Vermont litigation, accepted the award on behalf of  Gibson Dunn.
  • Gibson Dunn Named a Standout Firm by The Financial Times: The Financial Times named Gibson Dunn a standout firm at the European Innovative Lawyer Awards 2019 in September. The firm was recognized in the Innovation in the Rule of Law and Access to Justice category for London associate Ryan Whelan’s work leading the campaign in the UK against “upskirting,” the act of capturing images under a woman’s skirt without her permission. The campaign resulted in an amendment to the Sex Offences Act of 2003 that decided perpetrators would be tried as sex offenders.
  • Gibson Dunn Team Receives Pro Bono Leadership Award from NCLEJ: In May, Gibson Dunn received the Pro Bono Leadership Award from the National Center for Law and Economic Justice (NCLEJ) for its work on behalf of Migrant Justice, a Vermont-based grassroots organization that advocates for migrant farmworkers. The Pro Bono Leadership Award was presented at NCLEJ’s annual Awards Benefit Dinner on May 28, 2019 and was accepted by Joel Cohen, on behalf of his team including Amanda Aycock, Jaclyn Neely, Erin Galliher, Alina Wattenberg, Magan Haycock, and Nealofar Panjshiri.
  • Gibson Dunn Receives Jewish National Fund Presidential Award: In September, the firm received the first Jewish National Fund Presidential Award for its pro bono work on behalf of the organization. The contributions of Baruch Fellner, Howard Hogan, Akiva Shapiro, Jesse Melman, Sharon Grysman, Jesse Cripps, and Amanda Machin were recognized.
  • Gibson Dunn Named to National Law Journal’s 2019 Pro Bono Hot List: Gibson Dunn was one of 16 law firms featured on National Law Journal’s 2019 Pro Bono Hot List, recognizing firms that “have used their legal expertise to take on some of the biggest issues of our time.” The Firm was recognized for its work protecting a free press and successfully defending journalist Aaron Cantu who was arrested while covering the demonstrations at the 2017 Presidential Inauguration. The Firm’s profile [PDF] featuring Washington, D.C. partner Chantale Fiebig ran on May 1, 2019.

Los Angeles associate Eugene Chao receives an award for his outstanding volunteer work at the annual Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ) Pro Bono Advisory Council Volunteer Awards ceremony

  • Gibson Dunn Associate Honored with AAAJ Pro Bono Advisory Council Award: On February 20, Los Angeles associate Eugene Chao received an award for his outstanding volunteer work at the annual Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ) Pro Bono Advisory Council Volunteer Awards ceremony. Nicole Kim accepted the award on behalf of Eugene, who is on secondment in Japan.
  • Gibson Dunn Honored by Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition with the 2018 Impacting Justice Award:  On October 2, 2018, Gibson Dunn was honored by long-time pro bono partner Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition with the 2018 Impacting Justice Award. The firm was honored for its “stellar and innovative” pro bono work on behalf of CAIR Coalition and on behalf of detained immigrants in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. The recognition was given, at least in part, for the firm’s work on behalf of CAIR Coalition and other legal service providers earlier this year when they were threatened with the termination of funding.  The Executive Director of CAIR Coalition noted, “Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher has always been a stellar and innovative partner. When our clients and our work for our clients was put at stake this year, your attorneys and staff jumped to join us in their defense. With your dedication and creativity, we were able to fight back the attack and continue to represent the immigrant communities of the Capital Region.”
  • Gibson Dunn Team Wins Her Justice Commitment to Justice Award:  Daniel Harris and Ryan Levan received Her Justice’s Commitment to Justice Award at the organization’s awards ceremony on February 28, 2018. Her Justice recognized the team, and its supervisor Jim Hallowell, for its representation of a New York City mother and her young son who sought immigration status after assisting in the prosecution of her abusive former boyfriend. The team has continued to fight for its client through numerous setbacks, including losing shelter in New York City, raids targeting recently arrived immigrants like her and her son, and being placed by ICE under intrusive supervision (including an ankle monitor) after moving out of state. In response to the post-move setbacks, the team has secured local assistance out of state; a prima facie determination of eligibility for U nonimmigrant status, deferred action, and employment authorization from USCIS; a stay of removal from ICE; and finally, on the day of the awards ceremony, removal of the ankle monitor and other punitive conditions of supervision that had been imposed by ICE.
  • KIND Pro Bono Attorney of the Year:  Phil Shapiro was named by Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) as one of their Pro Bono Attorneys of the Year. KIND works to provide pro bono representation to unaccompanied minors (and children separated from their families) who are seeking immigration relief. Phil has worked on behalf of KIND clients for years, personally handling a number of cases and lending his knowledge and expertise to KIND matters that other Gibson Dunn associates have taken on. To date, Phil has assisted at least 13 children obtain legal status here in the United States.  He also spent time over the summer working at one of the immigration detention centers along the southern border during the family separation crisis.
  • California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. Honors Gibson Dunn at 2018 San Francisco Fiesta: In November 2018, California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) recognized a team of Gibson Dunn attorneys (Ben Wagner, Chelsea Thomas, and Dan Nowicki) for their pro bono work with a “Champions of Educational Justice” award. The team collaborated for over a year with attorneys at CRLA and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights to develop a strong case against the Modesto City Schools District relating to its history of discriminatory application of disciplinary measures against students of color and English learners. Their efforts led to a comprehensive settlement agreement with the School District, under which the District will engage in a lengthy process to review and reform its disciplinary policies and practices, guided by a nationally-recognized expert. These changes will improve educational outcomes for Modesto students.
  • The Legal Aid Society Honors Gibson Dunn with a 2018 Pro Bono Publico Award: In October 2018, The Legal Aid Society honored Gibson Dunn as one of the recipients of its 2018 Pro Bono Publico Award for outstanding service to The Legal Aid Society and its clients. In addition to recognizing Gibson Dunn, it also honored three individual attorneys from the firm’s New York office for their exceptional involvement over the course of the year: James Barnao, Joe Evall, and Matthew Greenfield, as well as former associate Christian Hudson. Paul Kremer accepted the award on the firm’s behalf.

  • Gibson Dunn Named as Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year by Who’s Who Legal: This award is in recognition of the “superb work that the firm has undertaken, particularly for the help it has given to disenfranchised and refugee communities within the United States and those seeking citizenship from abroad.”  The publication noted, “The firm’s international scope, with a joined-up operation spanning the US, Europe and Asia; a committed team with real leadership; and its lawyers’ belief in making a difference to the lives of those who cannot afford legal representation and in upholding the rule of law, all played an important part in the decision to crown Gibson Dunn our Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year.”
  • Gibson Dunn Named to National Law Journal’s Pro Bono Hot List: Gibson Dunn was one of 14 law firms featured on National Law Journal’s 2018 Pro Bono Hot List.  The firm was recognized for its work defending Dreamers, undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, after the Trump administration announced it was rescinding the program that protected them, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
  • Gibson Dunn Received 2018 California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year (CLAY) Award: In late 2017, Gibson Dunn filed suit on behalf of six individual DACA recipients and was one of the teams that convinced the Northern District of California to enter a preliminary injunction requiring the government to accept renewal applications for DACA holders despite the government’s rescission of the DACA program.  The Daily Journal named the team representing DACA recipients, cities, counties, the University of California, and states in Garcia USA among its 2018 California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year.
  • Asian Americans Advancing Justice Honored Gibson Dunn with Volunteer Recognition Award
  • The Jericho Project Honored Gibson Dunn at Annual Gala
  • Public Counsel’s 2017 Law Firm Pro Bono Award: On June 29, 2017, Gibson Dunn was honored by Public Counsel with their 2017 Law Firm Pro Bono Award. The firm was recognized for our work over the years on behalf of Public Counsel clients, committing over 10,000 hours in the last two years alone. The award also recognized the work the firm has done over the course of this year on several high profile, complex immigration-related cases, as well as our work in the wake of the Travel Ban.
  • Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network – Pro Bono Service Award: On Friday, June 16, 2017, Gibson Dunn was honored with the Pro Bono Service Award by the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network. The firm was recognized for our contributions over the past several years to the immigrant community in Denver, Colorado and nationally.
  • Catholic Charities Legal Network selected Gibson for the 2017 John Carroll Society Legal Services Award for its outstanding pro bono support of the Legal Network, including the in-person intake assistance to the Legal Network currently provided by Gibson Dunn attorneys.
  • Animal Legal Defense Fund awarded Gibson Dunn with the 2017 Advancement in Animal Law Pro Bono Achievement Award – In September 2017, the Animal Legal Defense Fund honored Gibson Dunn for the third year in a row with a ALDF Advancement in Animal Law Pro Bono Achievement Award recognizing the firm’s outstanding dedication of pro bono hours in helping them achieve their mission to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system.
  • Centro Legal de la Raza named Gibson Dunn as its 2017 Pro Bono Champion.
Matt Porcelli, accepting the Legal Services NYC Pro Bono Leadership Award in March 2017

Gibson Dunn Accepts Legal Services New York City Pro Bono Award, March 2017

Gibson Dunn Accepts Rocky Mountain Immigration Advocacy Network Pro Bono Award, June 2017

On Behalf of Gibson Dunn, Ted Boutrous Accepts Public Counsel’s Annual Pro Bono Award, June 2017

  • The New York Law Journal named Mitch Karlan to its annual list of “The Lawyers Who Lead by Example,” which honors lawyers’ public service and pro bono work and “made a difference in the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in society.” Lawyers’ profiles were published on September 20, 2016.
  • Asian Legal Business Recognizes Gibson Dunn for Corporate Social Responsibility: Asian Legal Business named Gibson Dunn to its 2016 CSR List. The list recognizes the corporate social responsibility initiatives of 25 law firms in Asia “that clearly have their hearts in the right place when it comes to giving back to their communities.”
  • Kids in Need of Defense Honor Gibson Dunn with 2016 Allegiance Award: In April 2016, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) presented Gibson Dunn with their prestigious Allegiance Award, recognizing the firm’s impressive commitment to pro bono work and long-standing relationship with the organization.
  • Law 360 Named Gibson Dunn Among Its Pro Bono Firms of 2016: Gibson Dunn was recognized as one of Law360’s Pro Bono Firms of 2016, featuring 20 law firms that “demonstrated their steadfast interest in the public interest.” This is Gibson Dunn’s fifth consecutive year as a Law360 Pro Bono Firm of the Year and the article states, in part: “From bringing home an Alabama state trooper who spent 15 years on death row after an unfair trial to international efforts like providing desperately needed legal assistance to British families and domestic violence victims, Gibson Dunn’s commitment to giving back has cemented its spot among Law360’s Pro Bono Firms of 2016.”
  • The Legal Aid Society Honors Gibson Dunn with a 2016 Pro Bono Publico Award: In October 2016, The Legal Aid Society honored Gibson Dunn as one of the recipients of its 2016 Pro Bono Publico Award for outstanding service to The Legal Aid Society and its clients. In addition to recognizing Gibson Dunn, it also honored three individuals at the firm for their exceptional involvement over the course of the year: Kevin Homiak, Christine Shim, and Ryan Oringer.
  • Lawyers Alliance Honors Gibson Dunn with a Cornerstone Award for Pro Bono Excellence: In November 2016, the Lawyers Alliance will honor David Feldman and Shellie Freedman with a 2016 Cornerstone Award, in recognition of their exceptional assistance on several pro bono matters throughout the year. The award is intended to recognize attorneys who have provided much needed pro bono assistance to nonprofits and community development organizations throughout New York City.
  • Animal Legal Defense Fund Honors Gibson Dunn with a 2016 Advancement in Animal Law Pro Bono Achievement Award: In September 2016, the Animal Legal Defense Fund honored Gibson Dunn for the second year in a row with a ALDF Advancement in Animal Law Pro Bono Achievement Award recognizing the firm’s outstanding dedication of pro bono hours in helping them achieve their mission to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system.

  • Human Rights Initiative of North Texas Awards Evan S. Tilton its 2015 Angel of Freedom Award.
  • CAIR Coalition Awards Gibson Dunn 2015 Law Firm of the Year.
  • Gibson Dunn Team Wins Her Justice Commitment to Justice Award.
  • Gibson Dunn Orange County Office Wins State Bar of California 2015 President’s Pro Bono Service Award.
  • Matthew Benjamin Honored with Federal Bar Council’s Thurgood Marshall Award for Exceptional Pro Bono Service.
  • The Legal Aid Society presented their 2015 Pro Bono Publico Award to members of Gibson Dunn’s “D-SNAP Team,” among others at Gibson Dunn, in recognition of its work to help disabled New Yorkers obtain disaster food stamp benefits (so-called “D-SNAP” benefits) that they were unable to apply for in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
  • Law360 named Gibson Dunn to its list of the top 20 Pro Bono Firms of 2014, the third consecutive year we have received the honor. This award recognized “20 outstanding law firms” “that showed a steadfast duty to providing free legal work and secured notable victories ranging from pressing national issues to life-altering representations of individual clients.”
  • The Legal Aid Society presented their 2014 and 2013 Pro Bono Publico Award to members of Gibson Dunn’s “D-SNAP Team,” among others at Gibson Dunn, in recognition of its work to help disabled New Yorkers obtain disaster food stamp benefits (so-called “D-SNAP” benefits) that they were unable to apply for in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
  • Gibson Dunn was honoured with Immigration Equality’s Safe Haven Award, in recognition of our work on behalf of LGBT asylum seekers.
  • Gibson Dunn’s Dubai office was recognized as the Pro Bono Firm of the Year at the ILFR Middle East Awards.

FRANK WHEAT MEMORIAL AWARD

Each year, Gibson Dunn acknowledges the exemplary pro bono work done by its lawyers that has changed lives and, in some cases, changed laws. To that end, we created the Frank Wheat Memorial Award.

Frank Wheat, a former Gibson Dunn partner who passed away in 2000, was not only a giant in the legal community — a superb transactional lawyer, an SEC commissioner and president of the Los Angeles County Bar – but a giant in the nonprofit community as well. He founded the Alliance for Children’s Rights, was a founder and trustee of the Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund, a leader of the Sierra Club, and a former board member at the Center for Law in the Public Interest, which established a fellowship in his name to train young lawyers in public interest litigation. The Frank Wheat Memorial Award is given annually to the lawyer and group of lawyers who have:

  • demonstrated leadership and initiative in their pro bono work,
  • obtained significant results for their pro bono clients, and/or
  • through their pro bono work at the firm, served as a source of inspiration to others.

The recipients of the Frank Wheat Award receive a $2,500 cash prize, which is donated to the pro bono organization or organizations that they designate.