2014 Super Lawyers Pro Bono Awards recipients give a voice to the underrepresented
This post was written by Patrick Dunn, marketer at Thomson Reuters
In our latest magazine devoted to the stories of the 2014 Super Lawyers Pro Bono Award recipients, you will read about lawyers giving back and making a difference with their exceptional pro bono efforts. This is the fourth year that Super Lawyers has had the privilege to honor and recognize attorneys, firms and organizations for their pro bono work.
You’ll meet Gary Udashen, who juggles his day job in criminal defense with his role as president of the Innocence Project of Texas. He works hard to free wrongfully imprisoned inmates, and he’s also challenging a history of junk science-based convictions. And then there’s Latham & Watkins, a firm using its global reach to help Holocaust survivors receive financial reparations from the German government. An estimated 25 to 30 percent of survivors in the U.S. live below the poverty line, and since 2007, some 350 attorneys have helped nearly 450 survivors find security and dignity near the end of their lives.
When protests erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, after Michael Brown was killed in August 2014, Saint Louis University’s legal clinics quickly responded by challenging the police’s use of tear gas on protesters. SLU Law also worked to address long simmering tensions in the city by calling for amnesty for outstanding warrants for nonviolent offenses. “For many young people, these warrants act as a barrier to housing and employment,” says professor Patricia Lee.
Driven by a desire to give back, attorney Troy Doucet saw a niche that Doucet & Associates could fill in Ohio, so he created a dedicated pro bono attorney position, focused primarily on eviction cases, at his small firm. “We have a tremendous ability to do good,” Doucet says. “There are few professions on the planet that enable one person to effect so much change.”
Part of the story here is our honorees’ swift responses when they discovered a need for pro bono services. In the summer of 2014, Kathleen Gasparian’s Louisiana community faced an influx of unaccompanied immigrant children fleeing across the border, only to face deportation. She formed an organization to assist in immigration hearings, and by the end of the first CLE, she had more than 120 lawyers involved who represented 60 clients.
When the federal government moved some 1,200 women and children to a temporary immigration detention facility in “middle of nowhere” Artesia, New Mexico in June 2014, the American Immigration Lawyers Association responded with a flood of attorneys to provide legal assistance. By the time the government closed the facility in December, AILA was able to secure the release of more than 800 people.
Congratulations to the 2014 Super Lawyers Pro Bono Award recipients, and bravo to all of the lawyers who were nominated and those of you who provide excellent and much-needed pro bono work each day.
We invite you to learn more about all eight recipients in 2014 Pro Bono Super Lawyers Digital Magazine. Do you know someone worthy of a 2015 Super Lawyers Pro Bono Award? Nominations are now open through October 30, 2015. Learn more and nominate today at SuperLawyers.com/ProBono.