American Friends of the Hebrew University Honors Roberta Kaplan and Audrey Strauss with The George A. Katz Torch of Learning Award
Roberta Kaplan and Audrey Strauss received the 53rd Annual George A. Katz Torch of Learning Award (TOL), presented by American Friends of the Hebrew University (AFHU) at Cipriani on Thursday, May 18. Click here for the event program.
At the event, AFHU President Pamela Emmerich said, “These two brilliant women- whose careers are the stuff of which legends are made, are most deserving recipients of the Torch of Learning Award, named in memory of the late George Katz (z’l), founding partner of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. It honors outstanding lawyers who have made a significant impact in the legal profession and in the broader community. Both of our distinguished honorees meet that requirement in spades.”
Roberta (“Robbie”) Kaplan is the founding partner of Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP which she founded to build what she calls a “new-fashioned, old-fashioned” law firm that combines a cutting-edge civil and criminal litigation practice with a groundbreaking commitment to using the courts to serve the public interest. To that end, she has been in the news recently for successful representation of E. Jean Carroll, but before that her victory in the landmark Windsor case helped pave the way for marriage equality in the U.S. Robbie has taken on the white supremacists in Charlottesville, and co-founded the Times Up Legal Defense Fund.
Dahlia Lithwick, lawyer, New York Times bestselling author, journalist, and senior editor at Slate presented the award to Kaplan.
“The State of Israel is in the midst of an unprecedented crisis concerning the independence of its court system,” said Kaplan. “In our world today where democracy seems to be in danger in so many different places and in so many ways, I believe it is even more important for us to support institutions like the Hebrew University of Jerusalem that help to foster the foundations of Israeli democracy. I’m so honored to be receiving this award.”
Audrey Strauss, Senior Counsel, Fried Frank, represents clients in white-collar criminal defense and regulatory matters. Prior to rejoining Fried Frank in 2022, Audrey served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, where she oversaw all criminal and civil cases brought on behalf of the U.S. These include taking on Roy Cohn and the Gambino family.
Geoffrey S. Berman, Partner, Fried Frank, and former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York presented the award to Strauss.
“It is a profound honor to receive this year’s Torch of Learning Award, along with my co-recipient Robbie Kaplan, joining the ranks of many distinguished past awardees,” said Strauss. “I am proud to continue to support American Friends of the Hebrew University and HU’s Faculty of Law in its efforts to educate and champion outstanding future global leaders and innovators, among other important work.”
Celebrating its 53rd year, the Award has an illustrious history and raises awareness and important support for the Hebrew University Faculty of Law and the mission of its American Friends.
Hebrew University’s Faculty of Law is a dynamic institution where traditional legal research is conducted along with trailblazing programs in international law, multidisciplinary studies, and human rights research. HU law alumni include the majority of Israel’s former Supreme Court justices (many now faculty members), legislators, attorneys-general, social activists, and heads of NGOs.
At the luncheon, Prof. Tomer Broude, Dean of the Hebrew University Faculty of Law, presented a talk on “Constitutional Reforms and the Future of Israel’s Democracy.”
Co-chairs for the event include Elkan Abramowitz, Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello PC; Daniel J. Beller, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP; Gregory L. Diskant, Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP; Tali Farhadian Weinstein, Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP, Frederick P. Hafetz, Frederick P. Hafetz LLC; Sean Hecker, Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP; David B. Hennes, Ropes & Gray LLP; Robert J. Jossen, Robert Jossen PC; Alan Levine, Cooley LLP; Molly Levinson, The Levinson Group LLC; Jonathan L. Mechanic, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP; Gary P. Naftalis, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP; Sharon L. Nelles, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP; John S. Siffert, Lankler Siffert & Wohl LLP; Ira Lee Sorkin, Mintz & Gold LLP and Charles A. Stillman, Ballard Spahr LLP.
Advisors for the event include H. Rodgin Cohen, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP; Stephen M. Cutler, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP; Adam O. Emmerich, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz; Stephanie J. Goldstein, Goldman, Sachs & Co.; Brad S. Karp, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP; Meredith E. Kotler, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer US LLP; George A. Schieren and Avi Weitzman, Paul Hastings LLP.
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