Commitment to Community
Sedgwick attorneys and staff are committed to serving the communities in which we practice and live. Each year, we donate hundreds of hours to various forms of community service. On any given weekend it is not unusual to find a team of Sedgwick attorneys and staff volunteering at a local charitable organization, donating their time to pack tons of food at the local food bank, collecting donations for a toy drive, or walking in a 10K event to support cancer-fighting research. These opportunities to give our time and money to the community are rewarding to us individually and as an organization. In addition to the change we can effect in our communities, these volunteer efforts provide us with the opportunity to reinforce internal working relationships and strengthen our close-knit firm culture.
Sedgwick’s 2015 Community Service Award
On December 15, the Sedgwick Gives Back 2015 Community Service Award ceremony took place. The award recognizes individuals and teams within the firm who have demonstrated an impressive level of commitment to community service or pro bono work.
There were five award nominations representing 18 individuals, 4 teams, 11 nonprofits and 2 pro bono cases benefitting homeless shelters, legal clinics, health and wellness, at-risk youth, food programs, family advocacy services, child advocacy and protection, animal welfare, youth development and humanitarian services. Nominees included:
- Sedgwick Newark paralegals Susan Forsthoff and Tom Grodzki and attorney Lori Chapin for providing assistance to the Newark Associated Humane Society, the largest animal shelter in New Jersey.
- Sedgwick Los Angeles partner Jim Holmes and attorney Kevin Gilliland for their pro bono case on behalf of an individual against the Los Angeles Department of Fire and Police Pensions, in which they achieved the largest recovery in the history of the LA HIV Law & Policy Project in connection with their client’s application for dependent child benefits.
Sedgwick Seattle partners Rachel Reynolds and Brian Zeringer for their continued pro bono contributions to the King County Bar Association Neighborhood Legal Clinic. This team meets with walk-in clients who need advice and counsel on a host of issues and concerns. Over the course of just this past year, they have worked with more than 50 clients.
This year, two awards were given, one for an individual achievement and one for a team achievement:
- Sedgwick Washington, D.C., attorney Ruben Reyna was recognized for his many hours of involvement with three community organizations: Kids In Need of Defense (KIND), the Hispanic Bar Association of The District of Columbia, and the American Heart Association Lawyers Have Heart 5K, 10K and Fun Run and Walk. Through the American Heart Association, Ruben has organized “Team Sedgwick” to get others involved to raise awareness and public consciousness regarding heart disease and strokes. A $1,000 check was donated to KIND, which partners with attorneys like Ruben to provide pro bono defense to unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children in deportation proceedings.
- Sedgwick Kansas City Care Committee, which works to provide opportunities for all Kansas City staff to contribute to their community through various avenues, was also recognized. In 2015, this team assisted six organizations: Giving the Basics; the KC Pet Project, Kansas City’s largest animal shelter; The Children’s Place, which promotes the development of young children who have survived abuse, neglect and trauma by providing specialized services and family support; the Kansas City Zoo Run, benefitting endangered species conservation; a Madmitton Tournament, which benefitted Giving the Basics; and the Gillis Golf Classic, which helps at-risk children and families through education, counseling and social services.
Sedgwick New Jersey Continues Commitment to Soup Kitchen
For the past seven years, volunteers from Sedgwick New Jersey have donated their time to St. John’s Soup Kitchen in Newark each month. Our Newark volunteers help prepare and serve meals at St. John’s Church, which serves approximately 700 meals a day. The Sedgwick New Jersey office also conducts a food drive every year to help the Soup Kitchen prepare for Thanksgiving meals and a socks and gloves drive in the winter. Sedgwick New Jersey volunteers have prepared and served close to 21,000 plates of food and given hundreds of hours of time to St. John’s and related charities.
Sedgwick New York Hosts Bake Sale for New York City Rescue Mission
To help the New York City Rescue Mission, Sedgwick New York hosted a bake sale in November 2015. The bake sale sold out, raising hundreds of dollars to help feed the homeless over the holidays.
Susan Sullivan Selected for Newly Formed WILEF Southern California Board
Sedgwick Los Angeles partner Susan Sullivan has been invited to serve on the newly formed Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF) Southern California Board beginning in 2016. WILEF’s mission is to educate women in law on how to become leaders in the workplace and the community. With the addition of Sullivan, Sedgwick has five women serving on boards within the WILEF organization: partners Fern O’Brian (Washington, D.C.), Maria “KiKi” Karos (Dallas), Catalina “Cathy” Sugayan (Chicago) and Lillian Stenfeldt (San Francisco).
Sedgwick London Team Completes Isle of Wight Challenge
In May 2015, a team from Sedgwick London (Edward Smerdon, Michael McKenzie, Sarah Rixson, Richard Booth, Jenny Cruz, Natasha McKenzie and Carlos Peral Dorado) took on the Isle of Wight Challenge to raise money for Action for A-T, a charity working to fund medical research into a cure for Ataxia-Telangiectasia (A-T), a rare, neurodegenerative, inherited disease that causes severe disability usually beginning early in childhood.
Sedgwick ARC Group Cleans Up Beach
Members of the Sedgwick San Francisco Associate Relations Committee (ARC) volunteered in an ocean beach cleanup in May 2015. Sedgwick joined other groups volunteering to clean up a section of beach through the Surfrider Foundation, a nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enhancement of the world’s oceans and beaches.
Sedgwick San Francisco Staff at Local Food Bank
In April 2015, a group of 15 San Francisco attorneys and staff volunteered at the San Francisco Food Bank. The group helped pack 1,120 boxes of food for seniors, with a total weight of 23,520 pounds. During the years Sedgwick San Francisco has been volunteering at the Food Bank, our volunteers have packed nearly 180 tons of milk, rice, beans, cereal and canned goods.
Sedgwick Kansas City Donates Thousands of Items to Local Organization
Members of the Kansas City CARE Committee donated time organizing and sorting donated items for Giving the Basics, a gathering spot for individuals and businesses to donate products and financial resources for the purchase of human dignity products (basic clothing and hygiene products), which are then distributed to local organizations who help those in need. The Kansas City office donated 3,962 items to Giving the Basics.
Monty Cooper Profiled in National Urban Affairs Magazine
Washington, D.C. attorney Monty Cooper was recently profiled in the national urban affairs magazine, Next City, for his work to encourage business and economic development as chairperson of the Redevelopment Authority of Prince George’s County, Maryland. Next City aims to inspire social, economic and environmental change in cities by connecting readers to interesting people who are part of the Next City Network and holding an annual conference that brings together 40 top young urban leaders.