Willkie to Receive Several Legal Aid Society 2015 Pro Bono Publico Awards

October 15, 2015

Willkie, along with partners Mary Eaton and Wesley Powell and associates Arthur Biller, Lars Hulsebus, Norman Ostrove, Christopher McNamara, Douglas Hollins, Gail Hyman and Nicolas Heliotis, will be honored by The Legal Aid Society with 2015 Pro Bono Publico Awards for exceptional service to the Society and its clients.

The Willkie team is recognized for its recent role, as co-counsel with The Legal Aid Society and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, in Cruz v. Zucker, a federal class action filed in June 2014 on behalf of a class of transgender Medicaid recipients diagnosed with gender dysphoria (GD). The suit was brought against the NYS Department of Health in Federal Court seeking to overturn a NYS regulation that excluded Medicaid coverage for transgender-related healthcare. The suit resulted in an amendment to the regulation which now provides coverage for treatment for many low-income people with GD. The Willkie team continues to pursue the suit to overturn the regulation’s remaining barriers to Medicaid coverage, recently defeating the State’s attempt to dismiss the complaint.

Every year, the Society recognizes the “outstanding work of volunteer lawyers, law firms, corporations and other professionals who participate in the Society’s Pro Bono Program by providing exceptional services to low-income New Yorkers.”  The awards will be presented by the Honorable Jonathan Lippman, Chief Judge of the State of New York, at a ceremony in New York City on November 9.