Service to the Community

Our Pro Bono Commitment

Our Pro Bono Commitment

June 22, 2022 Jenner & Block Lawyers Win Asylum for Indigenous Guatemalan

A Jenner & Block team recently won a grant of asylum for pro bono client, Amasias Paau Choc, and his son, Pablo. Mr. Choc faced death threats in Guatemala because of his role in his village’s autonomous governing body.

The team was before Judge Everett in Los Angeles Immigration Court, and the case was heard over the course of several hearings, spanning more than two years. On June 10, the team went back to court to present the testimony of a country conditions expert, when opposing counsel announced that he would not oppose a grant of asylum and Judge Everett entered the order, granting asylum on the spot.

The team began working on the case in late 2019 with their first merits hearing on March 12, 2020—just before stay-at-home orders as a result of the pandemic. The team then had several virtual continued merit hearings before the court in late 2020 and in 2021, and two in-person hearings in 2022.

Partners Kate T. Spelman and Carissa Coze led the team with key support from Associates Kristen Green and Elizabeth Avunjian, and Paralegal Alonso Ponce.

 

PEOPLE: Kate T. Spelman, Carissa Coze, Kristen Green, Elizabeth Avunjian

June 16, 2022 Jenner & Block Announces Winners of Annual Pro Bono Awards

Jenner & Block awarded its annual Albert E. Jenner Pro Bono Award to Partners David Jimenez -Ekman and Zachary C. Schauf and Associate Illyana Green for their tireless work on behalf of clients in need of access to justice. The firm gave the annual Jenner & Block Award for Excellence in Pro Bono or Public Service to Operations Administrator Marc Patterson.

Mr. Jimenez -Ekman was honored for representing Ken Smith, who was wrongfully imprisoned for a murder and robbery he did not commit. Thanks to Mr. Jimenez-Ekman’s relentless advocacy over many years, Mr. Smith was released from prison last May.

Mr. Schauf was honored for his success in defeating Oklahoma’s efforts to overturn the US Supreme Court’s landmark decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma, which found that much of Oklahoma remains Native American lands.

Ms. Green was honored for securing asylum for a Kosovan man after arguing his case at the Seventh Circuit; she was also honored for representing the American Medical Association and other medical associations as amici in transgender rights cases across the US. 

Mr. Patterson was honored for his vigorous support of the firm’s award-winning pro bono program including screening incoming requests for pro bono legal support and for helping to set up a series of DACA renewal clinics that took place in partnership with the firm’s billable clients.

Jenner & Block has been recognized by The American Lawyer as the top pro bono firm in the United States 10 of the past 14 years. We partner with dedicated legal aid organizations, law school clinics, in-house legal departments, and others committed to providing access to justice and serving the public good. As advocates for equity, we embrace our responsibility to serve those in need, better our communities, and protect our future.

PEOPLE: David Jimenez-Ekman, Zachary C. Schauf, Illyana A. Green

June 15, 2022 Jenner & Block Partner Tassity Johnson Named Rising Star by National Immigrant Justice Center

The National Immigrant Justice Center recognized Partner Tassity S. Johnson among its 2022 Rising Stars. The annual award honors lawyers who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to ensuring access to justice for immigrants. She is one of nine lawyers recognized this year.

Ms. Johnson has represented asylum seekers pro bono through the NIJC for nearly five years, litigating several complex cases before the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit during that time.

In a case before the Tenth Circuit, Ms. Johnson and Partner Matthew Price represented a political activist, who fled from the Democratic Republic of Congo to escape persecution by state security forces, in seeking asylum in the US. After Ms. Johnson and Mr. Price filed a brief in the Tenth Circuit on the Board of Immigration Appeals’ erroneous conclusion that their client had firmly resettled in Angola, among other errors, the government voluntarily moved to remand. When the Board denied their client’s asylum application for a second time, Ms. Johnson and Mr. Price again represented their client in the Tenth Circuit and obtained another remand, this time from the Court. 

Ms. Johnson, along with Mr. Price and Associate Urja R. Mittal, represented another asylum seeker, who fled Mexico after being kidnapped and violently assaulted for being a transgender woman, before the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Tenth Circuit.  Ms. Johnson, Mr. Price, and Ms. Mittal filed a brief in the Tenth Circuit explaining that the Board, in denying their client asylum, had, among other errors, applied a wrongly heightened standard for whether the Mexican government could protect their client from further assault.  The government again voluntarily moved to remand. Ms. Johnson is currently representing their client before the Board, where their client’s claim is still pending.

Learn more about this recognition here.

TAGS: Asylum, Awards, Awards and Recognition, Immigration, Pro Bono

PEOPLE: Matthew E. Price, Tassity Johnson, Urja R. Mittal

June 10, 2022 2021 Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll Recognizes 70 Jenner & Block Lawyers

The District of Columbia Courts, in partnership with the DC Access to Justice Commission and the DC Bar Pro Bono Center, announced their 2021 Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll honorees. Thirty-nine Jenner & Block lawyers were recognized in this year’s class for contributing 50 hours or more of pro bono service to those who cannot afford legal counsel. Thirty-one lawyers achieved the High Honor distinction for providing 100 hours or more.

“We know that your service is based not only from a commitment to your ethical obligations but also on your principled belief in equal access to justice,” said Chief Judges Anna Blackburne-Rigsby and Anita Josey-Herring in an open letter to all honorees. “We are proud to recognize your dedication by including your name on this year’s Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll.”

Jenner & Block will also be honored by the District of Columbia Circuit Judicial Conference Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services at the 40 at 50 Judicial Pro Bono Recognition Breakfast. The June 22nd event recognizes Washington area law firms that had at least 40% of their lawyers contributing 50 hours or more of pro bono services in 2021.

Below is a complete list of the Jenner & Block lawyers included on the 2021 Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll.

2021 High Honor Roll Honorees

Rachel K. Alpert

Jessica R. Amunson

Ashwini Bharatkumar

Gregory R. Capobianco

Andrew B. Cherry

David W. DeBruin

Rebecca R. Fate

John Flynn

Ian Heath Gershengorn

Rebekah P. Goodheart

Illyana A. Green

Victoria J. Hall-Palerm

Lindsay C. Harrison

Lauren J. Hartz

Tassity S. Johnson

Suedeen G. Kelly

Krystalyn Kinsel

Deanna Krokos

Urja R. Mittal

Coral A. Negron

Ronald J. Pabis

Leonard R. Powell

Zachary C. Schauf

Raymond B. Simmons

Carter Fielden Smith

Allison M. Tjemsland

Kyle N. Tramonte

Adam G. Unikowsky

William R. Weaver

Scott E. Whitman

Kathryn L. Wynbrandt

2021 Honor Roll Honorees

Camillie Landrón

Marc Van Allen

Paul N. Alp

Ishan K. Bhabha

David Bitkower

Noah B. Bleicher

Kali N. Bracey

Moshe Broder

Aaron R. Cooper

Mark Davis

Steven R. Englund

Samuel L. Feder

Madeleine V. Findley

Charles W. Galbraith

Alexander J. Hadjis

Amb. Keith M. Harper

Matthew L. Haws

Matthew S. Hellman

Sam Hirsch

Katherine B. Johnson

Kevin J. Kennedy

Claire M. Lally

Jonathan Alexander Langlinais

Mary E. Marshall

Douglass A. Mitchell

Thomas C. Newkirk

Michelle Onibokun

Luke C. Platzer

Matthew E. Price

Colleen Marie Reddan

David B. Robbins

Brian S. Scarbrough

Roger C. Sherman

Corinne M. Smith

Howard J. Symons

Alex S. Trepp

Lee K. Van Voorhis

Marc L. Warren

Carla J. Weiss

 

TAGS: Awards, Awards and Recognition

PEOPLE: Jessica Ring Amunson, Steven R. Englund, Marc A. Van Allen, David W. DeBruin, Samuel L. Feder (Sam), Lindsay C. Harrison, Matthew S. Hellman, Thomas C. Newkirk, Brian S. Scarbrough, Luke C. Platzer, Matthew E. Price, Adam G. Unikowsky, John Flynn, Coral A. Negron, Ishan K. Bhabha, Colleen Marie Reddan, Zachary C. Schauf, Alex S. Trepp, Jonathan A. Langlinais (Alex), Matthew L. Haws, Carla J. Weiss, Rebekah P. Goodheart, Lee K. Van Voorhis, Tassity Johnson, Kali Bracey, Marc L. Warren, David Bitkower, Paul Alp, Howard J. Symons, Suedeen G. Kelly, Katie B. Johnson, Sam Hirsch, Roger C. Sherman, Ian Heath Gershengorn, Lauren J. Hartz, Kathryn L. Wynbrandt, Andrew B. Cherry, Noah B. Bleicher, Allison M. Tjemsland, Claire M. Lally, Gregory R. Capobianco, Douglass A. Mitchell, Camillie Landrón, Charles W. Galbraith, Amb. Keith M. Harper, Krystalyn Kinsel, William R. Weaver (Will), Aaron R. Cooper, Kyle N. Tramonte, Rebecca Fate, Victoria Hall-Palerm, Illyana A. Green, Urja R. Mittal, Ronald J. Pabis, Rachel K. Alpert, Alexander J. Hadjis, Madeleine V. Findley, Mark Davis, Moshe Broder, Ashwini Bharatkumar, Scott E. Whitman, Michelle Onibokun, Kevin J. Kennedy, Mary E. Marshall, Carter Fielden Smith, Raymond B. Simmons, Deanna Krokos

June 3, 2022 Lawsuit Challenges Unconstitutional Law Limiting Abortion Services

Working in partnership with abortion service providers and civil liberties groups, a Jenner & Block team filed a lawsuit in Florida to block the implementation of a new state law that would ban abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy and could put doctors in jail for providing essential care beyond that point.

 

The lawsuit argues that the law, which is set to take effect on July 1, 2022, would limit an individual’s right to access abortion services in violation of the Florida state constitution.  It seeks an emergency injunction against the law taking effect.

 

The Jenner & Block team is led by Partner April Otterberg along with Partners Shoba Pillay and Tassity Johnson and includes Associates Reanne Zheng, Sara M. Crook, Meg Hlousek, Annie K. Schoenfeldt, Emily A. Merrifield, and Savannah E. Berger, and Paralegal Fallon McDowell. Associates Sara M. Stappert, Casey Jedele, and Karolina L. Bartosik provided additional assistance.

 

Read the ACLU press release here: Florida Health Centers Challenge 15-Week Abortion Ban in State Court | American Civil Liberties Union (aclu.org)

TAGS: ACLU, Litigation, Pro Bono

PEOPLE: April A. Otterberg, Tassity Johnson, Reanne Zheng, Sara M. Stappert, Sara M Crook, Margaret M. Hlousek "Meg", Emily A. Merrifield, Shoba Pillay, Karolina L. Bartosik, Casey L.M. Jedele, Annie K. Schoenfeldt, Savannah E. Berger

June 1, 2022 Northern District of Illinois Honors Partner David Jimenez-Ekman for Efforts to Free Wrongfully Imprisoned Client

The US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois recognized Jenner & Block Partner David Jimenez-Ekman with its Annual Excellence in Pro Bono and Public Interest Service Award at a ceremony on June 1, 2022. Mr. Jimenez-Ekman was celebrated for his relentless advocacy for Ken Smith, who was imprisoned in 2001 for a murder and robbery he did not commit. Mr. Jimenez-Ekman started work on Mr. Smith’s case in 2006 and, with the support of various Jenner & Block lawyers over the years, was ultimately successful. In April 2021, the Seventh Circuit held that the evidence was constitutionally insufficient to sustain Mr. Smith’s conviction and Mr. Smith was freed from the Lawrence Correctional Center on May 6 of last year, ending what Mr. Jimenez-Ekman called an “almost two-decade nightmare.” 

TAGS: Awards, criminal defense, Pro Bono Award

PEOPLE: David Jimenez-Ekman

Recent Posts

Matters of Note

Video

 

Categories

Connect With Us

Follow @jennerblockllp