Updated at 3:58 p.m.
A nonprofit organization that helps veterans obtain federal benefits paid tribute to a Washington-based Covington & Burling lawyer and a Richmond, Va.-based firm last week.
James McKay, who is a senior counsel at Covington, and Hunton & Williams received honors from the National Veterans Legal Services Program during the group's annual benefit.
McKay, a 94-year-old World War II veteran, took home the Senator Daniel Inouye Award, which the group says it bestows on an organization or individual showing “unyielding support for veterans, service members, and military families.” Hunton walked away with the Pro Bono Partner of the Year Award, which the organization says it gives to a law firm that “made a major contribution to NVLSP’s mission.”
McKay has worked on two dozen veterans' cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims during his more than 60 years at Covington. The lawyer said the award is “a wonderful thing.”
“I never did it for any award,” McKay said. “I never expected anything like this.”
Hunton has taken part in NVLSP’s Lawyers Serving Warriors program since the organization launched the pro bono project in 2008. The project gives free legal help to Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who have cases concerning discharge, disability and benefits.
The firm represents about 60 veterans, which is more clients than any other firm involved with the project, according to NVLSP. More than 100 Hunton lawyers help with the project, according to the firm.
"We are very happy to help out in any way we can," said Hunton associate Justin Arbes, the administrator of the firm's veterans pro bono program.