Friday, Aug. 21, 2009 | 3 a.m.
Twenty Las Vegas attorneys have been recognized by the American Bar Association for participating in a pro bono project to help Holocaust survivors obtain reparation from the German government.
The attorneys worked with the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada for the Holocaust Survivors Justice Network, a national coalition of attorneys, legal professionals and social service agencies that support survivors with paperwork to claim reparations.
The bar gave the group its Pro Bono Publico Award, its highest recognition for pro bono legal work. Nearly 35 cities in the U.S., Canada and Australia participated.
The network was established after the German government created a program in 2007 to compensate survivors who labored in Nazi-controlled ghettos during World War II. Survivors are eligible for a one-time payment of about $2,800, says Mitchell Kamin, president and CEO of Bet Tzedek, a national public interest law firm that helped launch the project.
The network interviewed about 5,000 survivors and filed about 3,000 claims worth $8 million in reparation, Kamin says.
Kate Lowenhar-Fisher of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, calls her involvement one of the most rewarding experiences in her legal career. Lowenhar-Fisher says she worked with an elderly Las Vegas couple in their 80s and 90s — one who worked in the ghetto and the other who was an Auschwitz survivor.
“Offering support and listening to their experiences has been an emotional, deeply moving experience.” Lowenhar-Fisher says.
The survivors needed legal assistance because it can be daunting to fill out the applications, Lowenhar-Fisher says. The program, which fills in the gap of other reparation programs that have ceased, was geared to those who worked in ghettos, she says.
Las Vegas attorney Malik Ahmad says it was a rewarding experience to help a Las Vegas man who worked for the Nazis as a mechanic in Poland. Ahmad said he volunteered shortly after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the Holocaust never happened.
“Somebody came to my office who was living proof that it had happened,” Ahmad says. “It was a good learning experience. I am glad I participated to help someone in this.”
Other attorneys with the project are Emily Gubler Clark and Caryn Tigselling of Lewis and Roca; Rena Hughes of Hoskin Hughes Pifer; Chen Min “Jack” Juan of Marquis & Aurbach; Jake Kelsey of Barker Washburn; Rebecca Kinney, Rebecca Miltenberger, Adam Segal and Elayna Youchah of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck; Akke Levin of Morris Peterson; Royi Moas of Wolf, Rifkin, Shapiro, Schulman & Rabkin; Andrew Moore and Jordan Pinjuv of Greenburg Traurig; Patrick Murch and Joe Schrage of McDonald Carano Wilson; Lenard Schwartzer of Schwartzer & McPherson; Randa Reiff Shea of Patton, Shea & Kiraly, and Adam Smith of Glaser, Weil, Fink, Jacobs, Howard & Shapiro.
In other legal news:
• Fisher & Phillips, one of the nation’s largest labor and employment law firms, said it’s doubling the size of its Las Vegas office and has moved to the Wells Fargo Tower in Hughes Center. The firm was established in Las Vegas in 2002 when Mark Ricciardi merged his firm with Fisher & Phelps.
• Holland & Hart is ranked 35th in the country, according to the American Lawyer’s Associates Survey 2009. The annual survey finds how midlevel associates across the country ranked their firms as workplaces. The survey examined 12 areas that contribute to job satisfaction, including relations with partners and other associates, the interest and satisfaction level of the work and training and guidance.
• Kummer Kaempfer Bonner Renshaw & Ferrario has hired two attorneys to its firm, both formerly of Bullivant Houser Bailey. They are Peter Bernhard, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission and Georgeanne Bradley to work in litigation and transactional services.
• Robert Noggle and Kari Molnar have joined Black & LoBello. In Las Vegas, Noggle has worked with several title companies and businesses in the real estate industry. Molnar has joined the family law department.
• Snell & Wilmer associate Aaron Ford was selected to serve as an ambassador in the American Bar Association’s business law section. Ford’s tenure began July 30. The program, which selects five ambassadors a year nationwide, was created to increase participation of minority attorneys within the association.
• In its annual Chambers USA Guide, publishers Chambers & Partners recognized Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck as the top Nevada litigation, general commercial practice, corporate and commercial practice and gaming and licensing practice. Law firms and attorneys are ranked on technical legal ability, professional conduct, client service, commercial astuteness, diligence and commitment. The publication recognized Frank Schreck as a star performer among Nevada’s top gaming and licensing attorneys. He has represented MGM Mirage, Harrah’s Entertainment, Station Casinos, Wynn Resorts. Ellen Schulhofer, managing partner of the firm’s Las Vegas office, was recognized as the top Nevada attorney in corporate and commercial matters. She was involved in Wynn Resorts’ financial matters. David Arrajj was named one of the Nevada’s top gaming and licensing attorneys. His clients included Mandalay Resort Group, Harrah’s and Wynn Resorts. Andrew Brignone was ranked among the best in the employment category. Leslie Terry Jones was recognized as a leading real estate attorney. He has represented MGM Mirage, Station Casinos and Icahn Associates. Other recognized were Todd Bice and James Pisanelli as top attorneys in litigation (general commercial) and Sonia Church Vermeys as one of the top gaming and licensing attorneys.
Brian Wargo covers real estate and law for In Business Las Vegas and its sister publication, the Las Vegas Sun. He can be reached at 259-4011 or at [email protected]