Hitesh S. Barot ’01 and Amitai Schwartz ’72 are among the 16 lawyers throughout the state named by California Lawyer magazine to receive its inaugural Angel Award for exceptional commitment to pro bono work. Barot, a litigator at in the San Francisco office of Bingham McCutchen, is one of only two associates selected with the recipient group of partners and solo practitioners.
The awards recognize a select group of California attorneys for a broad range of work, from representing victims of domestic violence to protecting the rights of people seeking asylum.
Barot played a major role in securing a settlement in a case brought under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act on behalf of an Indian woman brought to Los Angeles and forced to work long hours and subjected to abuse by a friend of her employer. Over a period of three years, Barot, fluent in Hindi, led a team of Bingham attorneys who contributed nearly 800 pro bono hours to the case in partnership with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation of Southern California.
Schwartz, a solo practitioner in Emeryville, has donated hundreds of hours of pro bono time to handling federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) cases and advising health care advocacy groups. In recent years, Schwartz has focused on prosecuting ACLU FOIA requests for information regarding the U.S. government’s practices in gathering data on American citizens who are Muslim, of Arab descent or war protesters. In 2006, Schwartz won an expedited request in one of the cases, and donated his award of attorney fees to the ACLU.