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Portland-based Mercy Corps, one of the world's leading relief and development organizations, recently recognized Davis Wright Tremaine partner Robert D. Newell with its highest honor, the 2009 Humanitarian Hero Award.

In a ceremony held at the Portland Classical Chinese Garden, Mercy Corps CEO Neal Keny-Guyer paid tribute to Newell and his 30 years of service to the organization and the communities it supports.

"It is an honor to celebrate someone who has been at the heart and soul of Mercy Corps for as long as any of us can remember," said Keny-Guyer. "He was there at our original tiny office on SW First Avenue, he helped lead us to our new headquarters in Old Town, and he has been a rock during some of our most challenging times."

Newell is an active participant in Mercy Corps, both in their offices in Portland and with their teams in underserved countries around the world.

Newell serves on the board of directors for Mercy Corps, where he’s contributed in many roles – including as chair – since joining the board in the early 1980s. He provides essential pro bono legal services to the organization and inspires many of his colleagues at Davis Wright Tremaine to do the same.

Overseas, however, is where Newell has made his most significant "hands-on" contributions. He has visited most of the countries Mercy Corps works in – spanning hundreds of field projects in dozens of countries.

"When he travels to Mercy Corps programs, Bob brings the appreciation and encouragement of our board to our team in the field," said Keny-Guyer. "And when he returns, he takes it upon himself to educate our board about the work he saw up close."

In addition to his work for Mercy Corps, Newell maintains an active litigation practice at Davis Wright Tremaine, which includes extensive trial experience and expertise in Oregon and federal procedure. He is recognized by Chambers USA, "Best Lawyers in America," and Law & Politics' "Super Lawyers" as one of the top litigators in the region.

Carol Bernick, partner-in-charge of the firm's Portland office, spoke in glowing terms of Newell's commitment to Mercy Corps and community support:

"Bob’s work for Mercy Corps is an enormous source of pride for Davis Wright Tremaine. He has inspired a generation of lawyers to find their community passion and serve it well, whether that be in our own neighborhood, state, or globally. His compassion and commitment are the soul of the firm and we thank him for broadening our horizons and demonstrating not only the obligation to give of our time but the incredible rewards it brings."

The Humanitarian Hero Award is the only official honor Mercy Corps gives out. Previous recipients include Sho and Loen Dozono (2007), Bill and Karen Early (2007), Allan Alstead (2008), and Jack and Marie Eiting (2008).

About Davis Wright Tremaine

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP is a national law firm with more than 500 lawyers representing clients based throughout the United States and around the world.

About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps helps people in the world's toughest places turn the crises of natural disaster, poverty and conflict into opportunities for progress. Driven by local needs and market conditions, our programs provide communities with the tools and support they need to transform their own lives. Our worldwide team of 3,700 professionals is improving the lives of 16.7 million people in more than 40 countries. For more information, visit