D.C. Bar honors pro bono director, Defense Dept. counsel

July 3, 2011

The District of Columbia Bar honored Maureen Thornton Syracuse, longtime director of the group’s pro bono program, with the William J. Brennan Jr. Award for public service.

Syracuse has led the bar’s pro bono program for 19 years, and will retire July 22. The association, which held its annual Celebration of Leadership dinner last week at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel in the District, is currently looking for a replacement.

Syracuse is credited with expanding the program into one of the largest providers of free legal services in the District. Under her guidance, it launched clinics for poverty law, immigration and divorce and custody proceedings, and resource centers for landlords and tenants, probate, tax sale and consumer law.

The bar also honored Paul Koffsky, deputy general counsel for personnel and health policy at the Defense Department, as the recipient of the Beatrice Rosenberg Award for Excellence in Government. Koffsky has been with the department since 1979 and helped guide its 10,000-lawyer team to develop new personnel systems for civilian and military personnel, restructure affirmative action programs and address personnel issues related to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and the war on terror.

Former congressman joins Manatt

Former U.S. representative Dan Maffei (D-N.Y.) has joined Manatt, Phelps & Phillips as a senior adviser in the firm’s government and regulatory group. Maffei will work in the firm’s offices in the District, New York and Albany.

Maffei represented the 25th District of New York from 2009 to 2011, and previously worked as a staff member for Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.Y.), the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and the House Committee on Ways and Means. Prior to his career on Capitol Hill, Maffei was a consultant and later a senior vice president at Pinnacle Capital Management and a broadcast journalist for local television stations in Upstate New York.

“Dan is a tremendous addition,” said George David Kieffer, chairman of the firm’s Government & Regulatory Policy Division. “He understands the details and procedures like a senior staffer but, as a former congressman, he also understands through his experience the political forces that impact our clients on a daily basis.”

Catherine Ho covers law and lobbying for the Capital Business section of The Washington Post. She previously worked at the LA Daily Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Detroit Free Press, the Wichita Eagle and the San Mateo County Times.
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