News & Insights

Dykema Wins 2012 Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Service

Honor Recognizes Attorneys Michael Raines and Timothy Sendek’s Outstanding Pro Bono Work in International Kidnapping Case

May 10, 2012

CHICAGO—Dykema, a national law firm, today announced that Chicago attorneys Michael B. Raines and Timothy K. Sendek have each been selected by the U.S. District Court and the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association to receive an Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Service, which recognizes their outstanding work in an international kidnapping case. Both attorneys will be honored at the Thirteenth Annual Excellence in Pro Bono and Public Interest Service Award Ceremony in Chicago on May 18.

“We are very pleased that the U.S. District Court and the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association have recognized Mike and Tim for their dedication and commitment to pro bono service and congratulate them both on this much-deserved honor,” said Derek L. Cottier, Managing Member of Dykema’s Chicago office.

Raines and Sendek volunteered to represent pro bono a left behind parent from an eastern European country to recover his three-year-old son, who had been wrongly taken to the Chicago area by his estranged wife. In October 2011, the attorneys filed a Petition for Return of the Child under the Hague Convention, with a request that the U.S. Marshals be dispatched to pick up the mother and child for an immediate hearing. An emergency ex parte order was issued and, a week later, the left behind parent was reunited with his child, after more than a year apart. The emergency relief started a settlement process, which led to a mutually agreeable parenting agreement and a dismissal of the filed Hague Petition. 

“It is clear that but for Mike and Tim’s willingness to take this case on pro bono that the left behind father would never have had an opportunity to ever have his day in court,” said Heidi A. Naasko, Dykema’s Pro Bono Counsel. “In so volunteering, Mike and Tim provided the ultimate equalizer that resulted in a fair and just result for this father.”

“This was a very difficult and complicated case from the beginning because of a number of factors including the language barrier, the uncertainty of the mother and child’s whereabouts, the extraordinary relief being sought, and the many litigation obstacles involved,” added Charles A. LeMoine, Chairman of Dykema’s Pro Bono Committee, who assisted the Dykema team throughout the process. “Mike and Tim’s extraordinary work in bringing a loving father together with his young son through an orderly legal process exemplifies the very essence of why lawyers performing pro bono legal service can and do make a difference in people’s lives.”

Raines is an associate in Dykema’s Litigation Department based in the firm’s Chicago office. His practice focuses on commercial litigation, consumer finance and class action defense, including the representation of banks in connection with enforcing monetary obligations and the foreclosure process defect crisis. In that capacity, he has crafted multistate surveys, generated legal instructions and operations manuals, and dealt with issues arising under multiple state foreclosure laws, the federal Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act and numerous other consumer finance laws. Raines’ experience also includes defense work involving broker liens, premises liability, product liability, and medical malpractice.

Sendek is an associate in Dykema’s Intellectual Property & Intellectual Property Litigation Departments based in the firm’s Chicago office. He focuses his practice on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights of his clients. He has handled litigation in all fields of intellectual property, including patent, copyright and trademark cases as well as patent prosecution before the U.S. Patent and Trademark office. Sendek’s technical background in Materials Science Engineering covers a broad spectrum of technologies, including fuel cell catalysts for which he is a named inventor on a U.S. patent. This has enabled his litigation work to cover technologies ranging from silicon microphones and medical devices to kitchen products.