Bentley Kassal, litigation counsel at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, will be inducted as a Chevalier of the National Order of the Legion of Honor, presented by French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Normandy on June 6, the D-Day anniversary.

Mr. Kassal, a former associate justice of the Appellate Division, First Department, is being honored for his role as a former U.S. Army Air Force intelligence officer in the liberation of France during World War II.

The Legion of Honor was created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 to acknowledge services rendered to France by persons of great merit. It is the highest decoration given by the French Republic, with about 10 Americans receiving the award annually.



The New York City Bar Association has presented its Fourth Annual Diversity Champion Awards at a ceremony and luncheon on May 27.

Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes was recognized for establishing programs to strengthen Brooklyn’s diverse community.

Arent Fox partner James R. Silkenat was awarded for his role in creating, funding and operating the American Bar Association’s Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund.

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher associate LaShann DeArcy was also honored for her impact on the diversity of the New York legal community.



At a tribute dinner held on May 12, The American Jewish Committee presented Weil, Gotshal & Manges partner Harvey Miller with its Judge Learned Hand Award for outstanding service to the legal profession.

More than 300 people attended the event, held at the Hilton, recognizing Mr. Miller’s contribution to the practice of bankruptcy. The event raised over $1 million for the organization.

The Judge Learned Hand Award was established in 1964 to honor the memory of its namesake, Judge Billings Learned Hand of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The award recognizes distinguished members of the bar and their adherence to the values and standards of excellence held by Judge Hand.



Two New York-based Nixon Peabody lawyers were honored last month for their volunteer services to the community.

The Legal Volunteer Services Project presented Rochester-based public finance and tax partner John R. McQueen with the William E. McKnight Volunteer Service Award. The award was presented on May 8 at the Monroe County Bar Association Law Day Awards Ceremony.

Litigation and dispute resolution partner David Schraver, also in Nixon Peabody’s Rochester office, was honored by the Monroe County Bar Association with its annual Adolph J. Rodenbeck Award, given for professionalism and community service.



New York-based nonprofit organization Family Justice has announced the recipients of its 2009 Corporate Leadership Award and Justice Leadership Award, to be presented on June 11.

Anne J. Swern, Kings County assistant district attorney, will be honored with the Justice Leadership Award. As a longtime advocate for alternatives to incarceration, Ms. Swern oversees the Drug Treatment Alternative to Prison Program, a prosecution-run program aimed at diverting convicted felons to residential drug treatment.

Lowenstein Sandler New Jersey-based partner Kenneth H. Zimmerman will receive the Corporate Leadership award for his work in leading the firm’s pro bono initiative, as well as his role as founding executive director of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice.

Founded in 1996 as La Bodega de la Familia, Family Justice concentrates its efforts in strengthening inner-city families who become involved with the criminal justice system, and promoting alternatives to imprisonment for offenders.



At its 40th anniversary, Lawyers Alliance for New York presented three institutions with public service awards in recognition of being “outstanding partners in public service,” according to the organization.

The event, held on May 19 at Gotham Hall, saw more than 400 guests.

Michael Helfer accepted an award on behalf of the Legal Department of Citigroup Inc., which was honored for its participation in Lawyers Alliance’s Elder Service Initiative.

For its partnership with the City Bar Justice Center in launching the Lawyer’s Foreclosure Intervention Network, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York was recognized. Thomas C. Baxter accepted the honor on behalf of the bank.

Fatima Goldman accepted the final award on behalf of Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, which provides programs and services that help more than 1.5 million people each year.



On May 27, the New York County Lawyers’ Association’s Non-Profit Organizations Committee received the association’s in-house Klaus Eppler Award for its Report on the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act.

The award, which was accepted by committee chair Lester Nelson, was established by Klaus Eppler to recognize an NYCLA committee or section that has “written a report that has had or may have the greatest impact in effecting improvements in the law or in our judicial system,” said the bar group. The committee was also awarded $500 to further enhance its work.



Brittany-Parker Shea, a graduate of Hofstra University School of Law, has received the Judge Edward J. Hart Memorial Scholarship for Trial Advocacy, presented by Long Island-based firm Rivkin Radler. The scholarship was awarded on May 28.

Created in honor of former Appellate Division, Second Department, Justice Edward Hart, who had been a partner at Rivkin Radler, the $2,500 scholarship is annually presented to a student or students who are selected by Hofstra School of Law.

A native of California, Ms. Shea has accepted a position in the Public Defender’s Office of Los Angeles County.



Accolades reports on special recognition given to attorneys at law firms, in government and at social agencies. Submit items to Scott.Pegram@incisivemedia.com.