In the past year, lawyers fought for the disabled, voting rights and women’s health. They volunteered their services for those who bravely serve our country — helping some secure citizenship and others maintain their right to religious freedom. They helped connect the community and law enforcement in Chicago and San Francisco, advocated for Texas foster children and worked to improve health care in South Dakota. These are their stories. — Lisa Helem
Akin Gump Protecting the Disabled, in Jail and in School In November, the firm reached a reported $250,000 settlement for a deaf inmate. Jenner & Block 6 Wins Before SCOTUS and a Spinoff Jenner & Block’s pro bono work dates back to at least the 1950s, when a small group of the firm’s lawyers began representing indigent criminals in Chicago’s courtrooms. Latham & Watkins Securing US Citizenship for Those Who Serve In recent years, Latham & Watkins’ public interest practice has helped military veterans fight to access their benefits. Mayer Brown Connecting Police and Community in Chicago A Chicago task force led by nearly a dozen Mayer Brown attorneys inspired solutions aimed at restoring a relationship between police and communities of color after high-profile killings that sparked a national conversation about the deadly use of force. McDermott Will & Emery Making Strides for Sikh American Soldiers A pro bono team from McDermott Will & Emery took on the United States Army and won. Morrison & Foerster Teaming Up for a Victory in Women’s Health When are state requirements made in the best interests of women not in the best interests of women?
Munger Tolles Advancing Police Reforms in San Francisco A 2015 texting scandal involving 14 members of the San Francisco Police Department became the catalyst for substantial changes. Robins Kaplan Suit Aims to Reopen Rosebud Reservation ER In South Dakota’s Indian Country, access to quality health care has been a real challenge, said Tim Purdon, a Robins Kaplan partner and former U.S. attorney in North Dakota. Ropes & Gray Securing a New Trial Without DNA When Ropes & Gray took on George Perrot’s case, it seemed like a good opportunity for DNA exoneration. That is, until the firm found the DNA evidence was unusable. Skadden Firm Earns 25 Clemency Grants for Inmates Michael Walsh, a Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom litigation associate in Boston, could have let the Clemency Project be a one-day engagement. He ended 2015 by helping his firm go through hundreds of applications for inmates seeking clemency under an Obama administration initiative. Wilmer A SCOTUS Win Over Florida Death Sentencing Pro bono “is just part of the DNA here,” said Seth Waxman, co-chair of the firm’s Supreme Court and appellate practice. Yetter Coleman Fighting for 12,000 Texas Foster Children “We looked at this as a chance to make a big difference in our world,” said Paul Yetter. “We saw it more as a privilege rather than a burden.”
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