PHILADELPHIA and NEW YORK, November 2, 2020—Duane Morris LLP associate Leah Mintz of the Philadelphia office and partner Michael D. Schwamm of the New York office were honored at the firm’s virtual annual meeting for their pro bono contributions. Mintz received the 14th annual Duane Morris Pro Bono Award and Schwamm was the recipient of the sixth annual Duane Morris Pro Bono Leadership Award.
The Duane Morris Pro Bono Award honors the outstanding service of an attorney who exemplifies Duane Morris’ commitment to pro bono service and has made a significant impact on an individual or community.
Leah Mintz collaborated with Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity (PLSE) for several years to perform constitutional analyses of Pennsylvania’s pardon requirements and procedure, which PLSE used to advocate for streamlining and modernizing the Commonwealth’s pardon process. More than 200,000 criminal cases are initiated in Pennsylvania every year, yet before 2020, the Pardon Board decided only approximately 200 pardons annually. The backlog created significant barriers to employment, credit, housing, and education, as well as numerous other collateral consequences such as volunteering, taking care of grandchildren and more for Pennsylvania residents. Relying on Duane Morris and Mintz’s analysis, in spring 2020, the Pardon Board adopted a consent style agenda for pardon applications to which no member objects, which was used in September to recommend over 60 pardon candidates to the Governor in a single vote, among other modernization efforts that already are helping to expand access to this essential element of justice. As of September 21, 2020, the Pardon Board heard 326 applications at public hearings and was on pace to exceed 500—the most, by far, in its 170 year history.
Mintz focuses on appellate litigation, white-collar criminal defense and complex commercial litigation. As a member of Duane Morris’ appellate practice, she has briefed appeals before the United States Courts of Appeals for the Third and Sixth Circuits, as well as before all three Pennsylvania appellate courts. Mintz has also served as appellate counsel for litigators in preparation for and during trials in various state courts. In addition to her appellate practice, she has represented clients in federal court in connection with fraud, breach of contract and civil RICO claims, as well as other complex litigation. Mintz additionally has handled prisoner civil rights actions pro bono we well as representing immigrants and health care providers.
In honor of Mintz’s work, Duane Morris will make a $2,500 to HIAS Pennsylvania and a $2,500 to PLSE.
Mintz is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School (J.D., cum laude, 2015), where she was contributing editor of the Michigan Law Review, and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (B.A., magna cum laude, 2011).
The Duane Morris Pro Bono Leadership Award recognizes an attorney who exemplifies the spirit of pro bono: a selfless, long-standing and unwavering commitment to pro bono service; a leader by example who accepts pro bono matters without fanfare; and a pro bono contributor who encourages and mentors other firm attorneys in pro bono service. Michael D. Schwamm leads by example, recruiting associates and partners alike to get involved in their communities. He has served on the firmwide Pro Bono Committee since 2008, helping transform and grow Duane Morris’ program. Schwamm has been praised by his pro bono clients – the Lawyers Alliance for New York commended Schwamm, stating precious few lawyers have his level of commitment to bettering the community and championing pro bono service at every opportunity. Outward Bound Center for Peacebuilding previously honored Schwamm’s pro bono assistance a as a steadfast ally and trusted counselor.
Schwamm practices in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, securities and technology law and provides general corporate counseling. He represents companies of all sizes, including startups and venture-backed companies, privately held family businesses and both large and small public companies in all aspects of their business affairs. Schwamm also provides services to venture capital and private equity funds, angel and other institutional investors. An increasing focus of his practice is assisting single family offices in structuring their direct business acquisitions—he co-leads the firm’s initiative in this area. Schwamm has worked on a wide variety of transactions, including mergers, acquisitions, public offerings, private placements, joint ventures and licensing arrangements involving a number of industries, such as cannabis, big data, business services, consumer/retail, technology including fintech, entertainment, healthcare services, manufacturing, sports and telecommunication.
Schwamm is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center (J.D., magna cum laude, 1983), where he was editor of the Journal of Law and Policy in International Business, and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (B.A., cum laude, 1980).
About the Duane Morris Pro Bono Program
The goal of Duane Morris’ pro bono program is to provide free legal services to those in our communities least able to afford legal services, and usually to those who have a dire need of such services. The importance of pro bono work and volunteerism has been an integral part of Duane Morris’ culture and the backbone of our value system since the firm’s founding more than 110 years ago.
About Duane Morris
Duane Morris LLP provides innovative solutions to today’s multifaceted legal and business challenges through the collegial and collaborative culture of its more than 800 attorneys in offices across the United States and internationally. The firm represents a broad range of clients, spanning all major practices and industries.