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Press Release

Keller and Heckman’s Pro Bono Team, Led by Partner James Votaw, Recognized by The American Chestnut Foundation

Washington, DC— On Tuesday, July 25, 2023, Keller and Heckman was recognized by The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) for its long history of providing pro bono legal services to the Foundation. A team of Keller and Heckman lawyers, led by Partner James Votaw, provide ongoing regulatory and other legal services to TACF in support of its mission to restore the American chestnut to its historic range. TACF President and CEO Lisa Thomson and TACF Board Chair William J. “Jay” Cude, III presented the commendation to James Votaw and to Rick Mann, Chair of Keller and Heckman’s Management Committee, on behalf of the firm, thanking the firm for its dedication and service in helping to restore the American chestnut.

The American chestnut tree was once the predominant tree and a keystone species in the Appalachian forests in the eastern United States. Between 1904 and the 1950s, the American chestnut was almost entirely killed off by the chestnut blight, caused by the inadvertent introduction of an invasive species of foreign fungus. In that time, nearly four billion American chestnut trees were killed, fundamentally changing the ecosystems and traditional ways of life in eastern forests and the communities they supported. The American chestnut has been functionally extinct since that time. The American Chestnut Foundation’s mission is to restore the tree to its native range by introducing blight-resistant American chestnuts developed through research, an active breeding program, and modern genetic technologies.

“TACF’s goal to restore the American chestnut is both extraordinarily ambitious and optimistic,” said Partner James Votaw. “This is a century project. Given the lifecycle of trees and the geographic scale of the challenge, it’s likely that none of us working on restoration will live to see it completed. Nevertheless, the meaningful goal and significant progress made by TACF, its collaborators, and its national network of volunteers have inspired our enthusiastic and ongoing support. It is an honor to lead the dynamic team of Keller and Heckman attorneys, scientists, and other professionals who have donated their time and skills to this cause, including Peter de la Cruz, Mike Novak, David Fischer, Herb Estreicher, Tracy Marshall, Greg Clark, Preston Fulmer, Justin Roberts, Hannah Sears, and Cheryl Thornhill.” 

About Keller and Heckman

Keller and Heckman LLP is an internationally renowned law firm with a broad practice in the areas of regulatory law, public policy, and litigation. From offices around the world, our attorneys represent global companies and trade associations servicing a range of industries, including food and food additives, agricultural, industrial and specialty chemicals and plastics, biotechnology and life sciences, tobacco and e-vapor, consumer products, drugs and medical devices, transportation, and telecommunications. Keller and Heckman is a pioneer in the use of interdisciplinary approaches to problem-solving with an in-house scientific staff that works closely with the attorneys on matters of technical complexity.