Mountain View, CA (March 16, 2016) – Fenwick & West is pleased to announce that Fenwick litigator Sebastian Kaplan was awarded the 2015 Housing Justice Award by the Bar Association of San Francisco's Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) for his committed service to low-income tenants facing eviction. Seven Fenwick lawyers were also honored as Outstanding Volunteers at the JDC’s annual Outstanding Volunteer Celebration on March 9.
The JDC works to bring greater diversity to the legal profession through educational programs and other diversity efforts. It also offers legal representation and social services to over 9,000 low-income and homeless clients each year with support from volunteer lawyers, law students, social workers and other professionals.
“It is a privilege to work with these families and individuals,” Kaplan said. “I appreciate the opportunity to make a tangible difference in their lives and in the community as a whole.”
Kaplan began volunteering with the JDC through the Housing Negotiation Project in 2007, providing limited-scope eviction services. He has handled more than 20 pro bono unlawful detainer cases including limited-scope representation in several matters during pre-trial settlement conferences in unlawful detainer cases.
These tenants facing eviction were without counsel and faced landlords represented by attorneys who devoted their careers to this area of the law,” Kaplan said. “Pro bono legal representation can make all the difference in such cases.”
Kaplan began full-scope representation eviction defense work in 2007, taking on a number of cases.
In 2015, Kaplan devoted over 250 pro bono hours to help low-income clients confronted with eviction remain in their homes, including taking lead in a four-day jury trial. He also promotes pro bono eviction defense work at Fenwick. The firm has committed to send lawyers to volunteer with the JDC’s Housing Negotiation Project one day every other month and has accepted several full-scope engagements.
The JDC also awarded Outstanding Volunteer Certificates to seven Fenwick lawyers—partner Saina Shamilov and associates Christine Chen, Kunyu Ching, Alexandra Grayner, Todd Gregorian, Guinevere Jobson and Ravi Ranganath. The certificates recognized the top 15 percent of JDC’s volunteers.
As a firm, Fenwick places great value on pro bono work. Fenwick’s pro bono program includes civil rights, child advocacy and political asylum work, as well as impact litigation. The firm has received many accolades for pro bono work, including being named to The National Law Journal's 2014 Pro Bono Hot List and recognized by Euromoney as having the best pro bono program in North America two years in a row.
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