Foley is pleased to announce that Maria Gonzalez Knavel, partner in the Milwaukee office, has been selected as the recipient of the 2010 Association of Women Lawyers (AWL) Community Involvement Award. This honor recognizes an attorney who demonstrates significant involvement in organizations committed to strengthening and improving the quality of life for those in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin.
Gonzalez Knavel is a member of the Health Care and Life Sciences Industry Teams and Government Enforcement, Compliance & White Collar Defense Practice Group. She has a wide-ranging practice that involves counseling clients on complex operational and compliance issues. She is also a nationally recognized speaker on sophisticated legal issues involving the health care sector, and is actively involved in the American Health Lawyers Association as a member of the Advisory Council on Racial and Ethnic Diversity. Gonzalez Knavel has been selected by her peers for inclusion in the 2009, 2010, and 2011 editions of The Best Lawyers in America® in the area of health care law.
The foundation for Gonzalez Knavel’s community involvement activities comes from both her legal practice and personal experience. The three primary organizations to which Gonzalez Knavel donates many hours of time and effort are the Zoological Society of Milwaukee, COA Youth & Family Centers and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.
A native of the Dominican Republic, Gonzalez Knavel has served for five years as a member of the Board of Directors for the Zoo and is directly involved in a key conservation project focused on the Central American nation of Belize. She serves as Secretary to the board, and has for several years chaired the board’s Research and Conservation Committee. In these roles she has provided guidance and oversight for a wide range of conservation, education and development activities, including Birds Without Borders – Aves Sin Fronteras®, a multi-year research, conservation and education project dedicated to the study of the 100-plus migratory bird species shared by Wisconsin and Belize. Gonzalez Knavel is also involved with the Zoo’s Bonobo and Congo Biodiversity Initiative (BCBI), a program dedicated to the preservation of the rarest of the great apes, the bonobo (pygmy chimpanzee). Finally, Gonzalez Knavel is involved with numerous fundraising and organizational development efforts for the Zoo.
Having spent her entire legal career in Milwaukee, Gonzalez Knavel has a deep awareness of community needs, which is reflected in her board service with COA Youth & Family Centers, an organization dedicated to helping at-risk Milwaukee children, teens and families through education, recreation and social work programs. She serves as a member of its Early Childhood Education committee, and in this role focuses on COA’s nationally accredited childcare programs at the Riverwest and Goldin Youth & Family Centers. As a member of the Camp Committee, Gonzalez Knavel is involved in the direction of the organization’s summer day camps. She is also a member of the Nominating Committee.
Prior to law school, Gonzalez Knavel managed a medical clinic for 12 years. This experience qualifies her for her role as the community representative on one of two Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. In this role she works with medical professionals to provide review of many investigative clinical trial protocols, and to ensure that the rights of clinical trial participants are protected. She draws on her extensive experience as a health care lawyer as well as her health clinic management experience to assist the IRB in several areas, including providing final approval of all proposed clinical trial protocols; reviewing all clinical trial protocols for compliance with federal patient rights and best practice ethical standards; and deciding, when necessary, on study termination.
Foley congratulates Maria Gonzalez Knavel for being chosen to receive this year’s AWL Community Involvement Award.