Jeffrey Trachtman, a litigation partner at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, has been awarded the American Bar Association's 2013 Pro Bono Publico Award. The award is presented each year by the bar group's Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service to honor lawyers, law firms, government offices, corporate law departments and others "that have enhanced the human dignity of others by improving or delivering volunteer legal services to the poor."
Trachtman has served on Kramer Levin's pro bono committee for about 25 years, including as chair from 1994-2011. On average, he spends 300 to 400 hours on pro bono and community service, he estimated. He has focused lately on LGBT rights and nonprofit work.
On behalf of several religious organizations, he recently filed a pair of amicus briefs supporting the two gay marriage cases now with the U.S. Supreme Court. He also was co-lead counsel with Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund in Hernandez v. Robles, a 2006 New York Court of Appeals case that sought equal marriage rights for gays under New York's Constitution.
Trachtman said he was pleased to be recognized and that his firm has created a supportive pro bono environment. "The message I try to convey to associates is, once you start doing it, you're hooked for life and I don't plan to stop anytime soon," he said.
One of five honorees, Trachtman, 53, is the only New York-based lawyer this year to be recognized. The recipients will be honored during the ABA's annual meeting in August.