VNF Associates Demonstrate the Heart of the Firm with Pro Bono Efforts

January 9, 2018

At Van Ness Feldman, our professional accomplishments are only as important as the more personal and long-lasting partnerships we are able to achieve within the communities we call home.  Recently, several of the firm’s young associates have demonstrated that this commitment to community service is not just a professional obligation, but one that is an individual, personal calling that highlights the best in all of us.

“We are tremendously proud of our young lawyers for truly demonstrating what it means to be a counselor of law,” said Partner and Pro Bono Coordinator Dan Press.

“Being a member of the Bar is a privilege and with it comes certain obligations, including the obligation to use your legal skills to help those who are unable to afford legal counsel. In these recent cases, our associates combined their legal skills with their hearts and accomplished a tremendous amount of good for their clients.”

Congratulations to all of our professionals for their commitment to serving the greater good—we highlight and thank the following individuals for their recent accomplishments on behalf of others.

Keturah Brown Receives Rising Star Award from Washington Legal Clinic

Associate Keturah Brown was recently honored by the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless with WLCH’s Rising Star Award, which is given to volunteers who go the extra mile to assist those in DC who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.  Keturah has volunteered her time over the past several years, first as a law clerk and then as an associate, to meet with WLCH clients to provide initial advice and ongoing advocacy to ensure some of the most at-risk DC residents are treated fairly and have equal access to justice. 

Successful Settlement Allows Severely Disabled Children & Adults to Live at Home

Associate Steve Scheele recently reached a very successful and important settlement for Northwest’s Child (and its related entity, Aaron’s Place), a daycare agency for developmentally disabled children and adults in Washington State.  For many years, NWC has provided respite care for the severely disabled, who require one-on-one 24-hour care, so that parents can continue to work during the day, but take their children home at night instead of institutionalizing them.  When state funding mechanisms for NWC were terminated, Steve spent the past 18 months learning the complex laws and regulations that govern NWC’s state contracts and managed to successfully resolve the issues that prevented NWC from obtaining new funding contracts. The successful settlement allows these families to continue working to support their family knowing that their children (including adult children) will be well cared for during the workday.

Refugee Asylum Cases

VNF associates worked on several asylum cases including:

Associates Gabe Tabak and Hunter Cox successfully represented a citizen of the Democratic Republic of the Congo who sought asylum in the U.S. after being persecuted by the Congolese government for his actions as a community activist and a journalist.   After suffering mightily at the hands of the regime, including imprisonment, beatings, and the death of his wife and father, the immigration judge granted asylum and ordered our client to be released from the Farmville, VA detention center. The government decided not to appeal – in large part because of the extensive record Gabe and Hunter worked to build over the last three months. 



Associate Jenna Mandell-Rice represented a Cameroonian woman seeking asylum after she was persecuted because of her sexual orientation.  Over the past four years, she had been imprisoned, beaten, and tortured by the Cameroon government and others based solely upon the fact that she is a lesbian, including having a warrant for her arrest for violating Cameroon’s laws prohibiting homosexuality.  After being detained for over six months, the judge issued a ruling granting her request for asylum.  

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