On behalf of the firm, Mintz’s Pro Bono Committee presents annual awards to attorneys who demonstrate exceptional leadership and commitment in the area of pro bono. For 2020, Member Drew DeVoogd was named the Richard Mintz Pro Bono Award Recipient, and the firm’s Employment, Labor and Benefits Section received the Mintz Special Recognition Pro Bono Award. Mr. DeVoogd and attorneys in the Employment, Labor and Benefits Section were honored virtually at the firm’s annual Pro Bono Award Reception held on Wednesday, July 22.
The Richard Mintz Pro Bono Award is presented annually to an attorney who demonstrates exemplary commitment to pro bono work. The award is named in honor of Richard Mintz, the son of one of the firm’s founders, who in many ways embodied the generous spirit of Mintz and was a strong supporter of the firm’s pro bono contributions. On a periodic basis, the Pro Bono Committee also presents additional awards and recognition, such as the Special Recognition Pro Bono Award, to deserving attorneys and pro bono teams.
A Member in Mintz’s Intellectual Property Section, Mr. DeVoogd was recognized for his leadership role in an amicus brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court in the consolidated cases captioned Bostock v. Clayton County on behalf of nearly 40 law and history professors, in coordination with nonprofit legal rights organization GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and Freedom for All Americans, the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people. In its June 15 ruling, the Supreme Court held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against workers based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Separately, Mr. DeVoogd also worked on two asylum cases and a detention bond hearing case in the last year, and frequently works on cases representing victims of domestic violence.
Mr. DeVoogd reflected on his and Mintz’s role in the historic and impactful case: “It was an honor to submit an amicus brief in support of Aimee Stephens, the transgender employee in the landmark Supreme Court case Bostock v. Clayton County, which held that workplace discrimination due to LGBTQ status is unlawful. Mintz worked with nearly 40 leading academics to argue for this result. Sadly, Ms. Stephens passed away before the opinion issued — but she leaves a powerful legacy, and Mintz is proud to have assisted her courageous fight for transgender rights.”
In addition, Mintz’s Employment, Labor and Benefits Section received the firm’s 2020 Special Recognition Pro Bono Award in honor of its innovative, section-wide pro bono efforts in the wake of the COVID-19 public health crisis. Under the leadership of Member and Chair of the Pro Bono Committee Susan Finegan, Member and Chair of the Employment, Labor and Benefits Section Michael Arnold, and Associate Natalie Groot, the firm’s Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., and San Diego offices partnered with several legal services organizations to provide basic employment law assistance to small businesses and nonprofits affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a goal of 100% participation from the group’s attorneys.
Pro bono service is at the heart of Mintz’s culture and identity. The firm partners with nonprofits, legal services organizations, in-house legal departments, and other law firms to provide life-changing assistance for individuals in need. To learn more about the firm’s pro bono work, please click here.