In 2009, Schulte created the Brooks Burdette Strategic Partner Award and the Brooks Burdette Fellowship in honor of late litigation partner and long-time chair of the Pro Bono Committee Brooks Burdette, who showed exemplary commitment to public interest work. The Brooks Burdette Pro Bono Awards recognize that while public service organizations often honor individuals at their own annual dinners, the organizations themselves should be honored too for their enormous contributions to the betterment of society. Schulte recognizes public interest organizations that work on behalf of the poor or otherwise engage a public policy issue to which the firm devotes substantial pro bono time. Additionally, the Brooks Burdette Fellowship annually gives an associate the opportunity to work exclusively with the public interest organization that receives the Pro Bono Strategic Partner of the Year Award. The chosen associate remains an employee of the firm with full salary and benefits during the six months of the program.
Brooks Burdette was a board member of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and was the first chair of the Board of Democracy Prep, a Harlem charter school. He played a key role in the landmark case of McWaters v. Federal Emergency Management Agency, a 2005 New Orleans federal court action that successfully challenged the eviction from temporary housing of tens of thousands of families left homeless after Hurricane Katrina. A native of Hogansville, Ga., Brooks earned his bachelor’s degree from Wofford College and his law degree from Harvard Law School.