At its 43rd annual FDR Dinner on September 15, the Disability Rights Legal Center (DRLC) saluted Pillsbury as its pro bono law firm of the year, celebrating a litigation victory on behalf of students with disabilities in California's Pomona Unified School District.

Partners Christine Scheuneman and Michael McDonough, along with associate Ben Strauss, teamed up with DRLC lawyers to secure a $900,000 settlement between the Pomona district and students with disabilities who had suffered abuse and injury as a result of the district's harmful practices. Other key members of the Pomona team were associates Elaine Lee, Stephanie Amaru and Rebecca Lee.

The September 2017 settlement is the first of its kind in the United States and requires the district to make fundamental changes to its policies, practices and procedures for students with special needs. Observers have suggested that the settlement will serve as a model for other U.S. school districts.