We are so proud when the exceptional work of our lawyers is recognized by their peers in the legal community. On July 29, 2021, we celebrated at the Elite Trial Lawyers 2021 Awards Ceremony at the Mandarin Oriental in New York, NY, where Sanford Heisler Sharp was recognized as the top Plaintiffs firm for both Employment Rights and Human Rights for 2021.
That night, we also celebrated the recognition of San Francisco Partner Danielle Fuschetti, who was named a Rising Star of the Plaintiffs Bar, along with Baltimore Managing Partner Deborah K. Marcuse, who was recognized among the Elite Women of the Plaintiffs Bar.
Sanford Heisler Sharp Chairman David Sanford notes, “Danielle is an accomplished young partner whose attention to detail, consummate knowledge of caselaw, and passion for workers’ rights all make her advocacy supremely compelling. Deborah is an uncanny hybrid: a relentless and brilliant trial lawyer, advocate and counselor who is also an incredibly skilled and dedicated manager of people. She is by turns beloved and feared, and rightly so, on both counts.”
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Among her achievements in 2020, Deborah was appointed to serve as firm Ombudsperson alongside Washington, D.C. Managing Partner Vince McKnight. In her role as Ombudsperson, Deborah works to help the firm embody our commitment to the civil and human rights principles for which we fight every day on behalf of our clients.
We loved Deborah’s powerful speech calling in those principles to the room full of lawyers and lawyer-adjacent humans as she accepted her award, and we think you will, too.
“When I say that litigation is fun for lawyers but not for human beings, it is both a complicated joke and a shot across the bow and also true.
It’s a complicated joke because I represent a lot of lawyers; because law firms and companies are just variously organized human congregations; because most of us in this room are both lawyers and human; because our lawyer and human lives intersect in complicated ways; and because in this post pandemic moment, as advocates and partners and managers and litigators, we all have choices to make about whether and how far to integrate our lawyer and our human selves, in our workplaces and beyond.
There is a strong business case to be made for committing significant resources to making our workplaces diverse, equitable, inclusive, and also just. Not only because the financial costs of being sued for discrimination or retaliation are significant, but also because litigation is a blunt instrument with great capacity to corrode the bonds that hold institutions together. It is also sometimes the best tool we have to push our communities and organizations toward justice.
The last 18 months experiencing the incursions of our dogs and children and spouses and sweatpants and sneakers into our depositions and oral arguments and mediations has in its best moments reminded us that lawyers on both sides, and even judges, are human. When we flourish as humans we are better at our jobs. Workplaces that are inhospitable to human life are cultivating instead the seeds of their own destruction. This is melodramatic, but also true, and seems useful to say to a room full of lawyers who will go to work tomorrow and make decisions about how human they will permit themselves, and others, to be at work. Thank you for the opportunity.”