Holland & Knight Honored with Two Diversity & Inclusion Awards from Chambers
MIAMI (September 25, 2020) – Holland & Knight received the "Veterans Program of the Year" award and Partner George E. "Buddy" Schulz Jr. was named "Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year" at the Chambers Diversity & Inclusion Awards: North America 2020 virtual ceremony on September 24. The firm also was shortlisted in the "Inclusive Firm of the Year," "Diversity & Inclusion Lawyer of the Year" and "Future Leader – Diversity & Inclusion" categories.
The Chambers Diversity & Inclusion Awards celebrate those firms and individuals who are furthering the advancement of diversity and inclusion across the United States and Canada. They provide the opportunity to shine the spotlight on role models and trailblazers in pro bono and corporate social responsibility as well as inclusion.
Holland & Knight's Veterans Group represents military families and veterans pro bono across the country. Its members assist military families on myriad issues, including bankruptcy, eviction, a wide range of civil matters and selected criminal cases. In 2019, 205 Holland & Knight timekeepers invested 5,865 hours valued at more than $3.6 million in representing veterans pro bono in 112 matters.
Holland & Knight attorneys work on pro bono case referrals through the American Bar Association (ABA) Military Pro Bono Project, and the firm has received the organization's Outstanding Services Award every year since its inception in 2012. The firm supports many other military initiatives that benefit active-duty service members, veterans and their families as well, such as the Wounded Warrior Project and United Way's Mission United Initiative. It also partners with the ABA's Section of Taxation and the Internal Revenue Service to coordinate a Military Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program in various locations.
Mr. Schulz is a nationally recognized trial lawyer who has won hundreds of victories for clients, many of them pro bono, during his almost 50-year career. In 2009, Holland & Knight managing Partner Steven Sonberg asked Mr. Schulz to chair the firm's new Public and Charitable Service Department, a position he held until the summer of 2020. Mr. Schulz built a framework that set expectations for pro bono for all of Holland & Knight's attorneys and positioned the firm to scale up its activities. Ten years later, the metrics show a commitment to pro bono that rivals that of any firm in the U.S.: 1,700 pro bono matters and 74,088 pro bono hours in 2019, with those hours valued at $48 million (up from $18 million in 2010).
Mr. Schulz is a fierce advocate for juveniles and a leader in securing psychiatric treatment for inmates, among other causes. Last year, after a long court fight, one of his pro bono clients was freed after serving 42 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. With his client now safe with his family, Mr. Schulz is devoting time to partnering with prosecutors, judges and advocacy groups on criminal justice reform, especially juvenile justice reform.
"Our firm has a deep commitment to 'do good' by providing pro bono and community services support for those in need or left behind, and nothing reflects that commitment more than the efforts of our Veterans Group and Buddy Schulz," said Tiffani Lee, Holland & Knight's diversity partner. "We are proud of their achievements and delighted that they have received this well-deserved honor."