ABA Section Of Business Law To Honor New York-Based Firm And Georgia Lawyer With National Public Service Awards
PHILADELPHIA, Mar. 16, 2001– The Pro Bono Committee of the American Bar Association Section of Business Law will present National Public Service Awards to Georgia lawyer Leonard C. Presberg, and to the New York-based law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison at the section’s Spring Meeting Luncheon in Philadelphia on Friday, March 23.
The National Public Service Award is presented annually to individuals, firms, or corporate legal departments that have demonstrated a commitment to providing free legal services to the poor in a business context. The award will be presented at a 12:30 p.m. luncheon at the Philadelphia Marriott Hotel.
Presberg has been in private practice with the Fayetteville, Ga., firm George N. Sparrow Jr. PC since 1997. He practices primarily in the areas of residential and commercial real estate, business and corporate, estate planning, and civil litigation. He is being honored for providing sustained counsel to Henry County Residential Housing Authority, a nonprofit organization serving the low-income community.
After being approached by the State Bar of Georgia’s A Business Commitment Committee in the summer of 1999, Presberg volunteered to handle, on a pro bono basis, real estate and contract issues for Henry County Residential, which had found itself in serious need of legal services. As a result of Presberg’s assistance, Henry County Residential, a nonprofit affordable housing developer, received an interest-free $60,000 loan from a local bank, $25,000 from the Enterprise Foundation, and significant funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the local United Way agency. This support also allowed the organization to access Federal Home Loan Bank Funds.
In 2000 Presberg continued his relationship with Henry County Residential, representing it in more than a half-dozen closings on homes built by the organization for low-income families. Last year Presberg was awarded the first annual pro bono award by the A Business Commitment Committee of the State Bar of Georgia.
Presberg graduated magna cum laude from the University of Richmond School of Law in 1996, where he served as Law Review editor-in-chief. Following graduation from law school and prior to joining the Sparrow firm, Presberg served as a judicial clerk for the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond, the highest trial level court in Virginia.
Through its relationship with the Business Resource and Investment Service Center, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison offers pro bono legal counsel on transactional matters to microentrepreneurs in the Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood communities of upper Manhattan. The firm’s involvement in this project began in 1998, and since then its lawyers have advised more than 75 different microentrepreneurs, including a specialty moving company, a sculptor, a restaurant, a caterer, a record store, an event planner and an e-commerce Internet Web site.
In the year 2000, more than 50 Paul, Weiss transactional lawyers, principally from the firm’s corporate, real estate, tax, employee benefits and entertainment departments, contributed time and effort to assist these clients who are in the early stages of establishing and developing their own businesses. During the past year alone, Paul, Weiss provided more than 1,150 hours of pro bono legal services to these clients, assisting them in matters ranging from selecting an appropriate business structure and forming a legal business entity to negotiating loans and leases and protecting intellectual property rights. Since the beginning of the BRISC project, the firm has provided more than 3,600 hours of free legal services through the project.
Paul, Weiss is a full-service firm of approximately 500 lawyers, with offices in New York, Washington, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Beijing. The firm is engaged in a diverse and highly dynamic international practice – serving clients throughout the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe and Asia. Its core practice is concentrated in the areas of litigation and corporate law, including mergers and acquisitions and public and private financing.
The National Public Service Award was initiated in 1994 as part of the Business Law Section’s pro bono project, A Business Commitment. The ABC project was designed to match business lawyers with legal service programs, community development corporations, charitable organizations or individuals that cannot afford to hire lawyers.
For more information about the Spring Meeting, including a complete listing of all programs and meetings, visit the Section of Business Law Web site.
With more than 57,000 members, the Section of Business Law is the ABA’s largest section. It provides business lawyers with education and analysis that furthers the development and improvement of business law and helps its members serve their clients competently, efficiently and professionally.
The American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. With more than 400,000 members, the ABA provides law school accreditation, continuing legal education, information about the law, programs to assist lawyers and judges in their work, and initiatives to improve the legal system for the public.