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Kelley Drye & Warren Partners Take a Pie for Legal Aid

July 31, 2023

By Jeremy Conrad

John Foote, Christie Grymes Thompson, Suzanne Gralow, Paul Rosenthal, R. Alan Luberda, Laura Riposo VanDruff, Wayne D’Angelo, and Dustin Painter.
From left to right: John Foote, Christie Grymes Thompson, Suzanne Gralow, Paul Rosenthal, R. Alan Luberda, Laura Riposo VanDruff, Wayne D’Angelo, and Dustin Painter.

On July 26, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP raffled off an opportunity to hurl cream pies into the face of eight firm partners at a fundraising event in support of Legal Aid of the District of Columbia’s Making Justice Real Campaign.

The campaign challenges law firms to engage in a friendly competition to raise funds to help the nonprofit provide legal assistance for low-income D.C. residents. Kelley Drye sold 230 tickets for the pie-throwing fundraiser, which netted an additional $2,300 going toward its goal of $75,000. As of July 28, the firm was in third place at $73,019.14.

Wayne D’Angelo, chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee and co-chair of its national environmental law practice, as well as its newly formed ESG practice, had a simple strategy for selling tickets. “Talking a lot of smack,” he said.

The crowd erupted in cries of delight and concern when Marisa DeFilippo, his legal administrative assistant, stepped up to deliver a close-range, two-handed pie to the face. D’Angelo, pictured right in photo below, took his pie in good humor.

Pie in the faceChristie Grymes Thompson, former chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee and current chair of its consumer product safety practice group, said that Kelley Drye has a longtime commitment to and involvement with Legal Aid. Thompson, who has served as a board member of Legal Aid since 2017, leveraged loyalty rather than ribbing to urge coworkers to buy tickets. Her executive assistant, Alicia Hunter, reluctantly pressed a plate onto Thompson’s hooded and goggled face, asking Thompson afterward, “Are we still friends?”

Partner and trade law expert Brooke Ringel delivered a deliberate pie to the face of Laura Riposo VanDruff, who chairs the firm’s advertising and marketing practice group. VanDruff, who wore a poncho and shower cap, also had the opportunity to hurl a confection at her colleague, partner John M. Foote. The pair, faces covered in whipped cream, shared a laugh afterward.

R. Alan Luberda, D.C. office managing partner, also took his pie good-naturedly. He said that the event reflected the firm’s culture, echoing statements by others about the office’s collegial atmosphere and nonhierarchical management style.

The event took place on the eve of the departure of the firm’s summer associates, one of whom was relieved that he didn’t have a winning ticket. “It’s probably just as well that I didn’t win,” he said, reasoning that it is poor form to pitch pies at an employer.

Other partners who participated in the fundraiser included government relations and public policy practice group chair Dustin J. Painter; the firm’s chair, Paul C. Rosenthal; and director of administration Suzanne Gralow.

Legal Aid’s Making Justice Real Campaign ends August 4. The nonprofit is responsible for assisting more than 3,000 clients annually in the District, helping to close the access to justice gap in civil legal matters relating to housing, domestic violence, family law, access to public benefits, immigration, criminal records, debt collection, and many other issues. As of this week, Legal Aid has raised $3.4 million. Learn more about the campaign here.

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