BOSTON (February 24, 2010) — McDermott Will & Emery LLP is pleased to announce that Boston-based senior counsel and head of the Firm’s pharmaceutical and biotech products liability practice, Peter L. Resnik, has been named recipient of McDermott’s 2010 Award for Outstanding Achievement and Commitment to Pro Bono and Service to the Community. This award is given to Mr. Resnik in honor of his tireless efforts on behalf of the homeless in the Boston area.
What began as a simple relationship between unlikely friends—Mr. Resnik, a well-known lawyer walking to work every day, and Rob, a military veteran who spent his nights sleeping in the doorway of an Army recruiting station and his days guarding a friend’s shopping cart on Boston Common—has since blossomed into an initiative to start book clubs for the homeless in cities across the United States. Over the course of their daily encounters, the two discovered a common love for books and knowledge. After Mr. Resnik loaned Rob several books, they began discussing the idea of a book club that would help empower homeless people and provide them with a respite from the challenges of life on the streets.
The book club was founded a year and a half ago with the help of Ron Tibbets, a longtime homeless outreach worker. Based on the success of the Boston effort, Mr. Tibbets founded the nonprofit Oasis Coalition, which, among other initiatives, is working with service agencies across the country to form similar clubs. The story of the Boston book club has since been featured in the Boston Globe newspaper, on the televised CBS Evening News, in People magazine and through many other media outlets.
“We are extraordinarily pleased to present Peter with the Outstanding Achievement Award,” said Melissa Nott Davis, a McDermott partner and co-chair of the Firm’s Boston-office Pro Bono and Community Service Committee. “Peter’s work with the homeless of Boston exemplifies the work of all of our lawyers and the entire Firm in helping build our communities—person by person, block by block and city by city.”
Said Resnik about his friendship with Rob, “You can walk by somebody who you know is going to ask you for a buck, but if you know their name, you can’t walk by. You can’t sleep comfortably if someone you know is sleeping outside.’’
McDermott's pro bono program seeks to bridge the gap for low-income individuals by providing critical legal services in the areas of family law, housing, government benefits, special education, school discipline, adoption and guardianship, elder abuse, and asylum and immigration. McDermott also provides much-needed legal assistance to not-for-profit organizations and small businesses whose focus is to develop and revitalize low-income communities, and to environmental organizations to help ensure a clean, safe and healthy environment for all. Through its pro bono program, McDermott also seeks to alleviate poverty, protect human rights and effect legal and social change around world by collaborating with international organizations and providing legal advice on a myriad of complex and global issues.