Jenner & Block

Jenner & Block is proud of its 2018 pro bono results:

 

 

February 22, 2018 Team Petitions Seventh Circuit for Rehearing in Case of Disabled Athlete

A firm team is seeking to revive its lawsuit that aims to compel the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) to create a separate division to accommodate para-ambulatory athletes.
 
Since 2010, the firm has represented Evanston High School senior student-athlete Aaron Holzmueller on a pro bono basis.  Aaron, who has cerebral palsy, asked IHSA to establish a separate division and qualifying times for certain races in its track program for para-ambulatory athletes.  He also asked IHSA to create a para-ambulatory division for the Road Race, a 5-K race open to high school students across Illinois.
 
IHSA’s executive director denied his requests in October 2015.  A team led by Partner Louis E. Fogel assisted Aaron’s family in its administrative appeal of the denial, but the IHSA board affirmed the decision two months later.  The team filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking injunctive relief to permit Aaron to have a chance to compete.
 
In September 2017, the District Court granted summary judgment in favor of IHSA. Aaron. appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. With Mr. Fogel’s assistance, Jenner & Block lawyer Devi M. Rao, then an associate and today a partner, argued the case in November 2017.  In early February 2018, a Seventh Circuit panel affirmed the District Court’s decision.
 
While the Seventh Circuit affirmed the lower court’s decision, the panel was ultimately divided. Judge Ilana Rovner dissented, explaining, “Allowing disabled athletes to compete in a separate division would no more undermine the competitive nature of the track-and-field program than does the current practice of allowing wheelchair athletes and male and female athletes to compete in separate divisions.”
 
Mr. Fogel and the team have petitioned the Seventh Circuit for en banc rehearing, and that petition is currently pending.
 
To learn more about the case, please visit The Heart of the Matter annual pro bono report.

TAGS: Holzmueller, IHSA

PEOPLE: Louis E. Fogel, Devi M. Rao

February 21, 2018 Partner Jessica Ring Amunson Wins US Supreme Court Victory on behalf of Pro Bono Client

Jenner & Block Partner Jessica Ring Amunson represents Rodney Class, a retired veteran who was convicted of and pleaded guilty to possessing firearms on US Capitol grounds.  In Class vs. United States, Ms. Amunson argued that her client’s guilty plea does not bar him from appealing the conviction on Second Amendment and due process grounds.  In a 6-3 decision announced on February 21, 2018, the Court held that “a guilty plea, by itself, does not bar a federal criminal defendant from challenging the constitutionality of his statute of conviction on direct appeal.”

“In this case, Class neither expressly nor implicitly waived his constitutional claims by pleading guilty,” wrote Justice Stephen Breyer, who was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Neil Gorsuch.  The holding flows directly from the Court’s prior decisions, according to the opinion.  The holding means that the earlier decision by the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings.

This term, the firm has six cases before the Court; five of those are for pro bono clients.  The Court’s decision in favor of Mr. Class is the second victory this term for a Jenner & Block pro bono client in the Supreme Court.  On January 22, 2018, the Court agreed with arguments made by Partner Adam G. Unikowsky in Artis v. District of Columbia, a case that concerns the statute of limitations for litigants who file state-law claims in federal courts only to have those courts decline to exercise jurisdiction over those claims.  The firm also represents pro bono clients in Marinello v. United States, argued by partner Matt Hellman on December 6, 2017; Gill v. Whitford, argued by former partner Paul M. Smith on October 3, 2017; and Abbott v. Perez, which has not yet been set for argument.

“We are very pleased with the Court’s decision,” said Ms. Amunson.  “Mr. Class has maintained all along that he was convicted under an unconstitutional statute, and he will now have the chance to make those arguments to the court of appeals.  As to the broader ramifications of the decision, as the dissent pointed out, roughly 95 percent of felony cases in federal and state courts are resolved by guilty pleas, so this decision potentially impacts a broad range of cases.” 

In addition to Ms. Amunson, the team representing Mr. Class includes Associates Joshua M. Parker, Corinne M. Smith and Leonard R. Powell; Senior Paralegal Cheryl L. Olson; Docket Assistant Tyler J. Edwards; and Legal Secretary Sheree A. Anyiam.

TAGS: Rodney Class, US Supreme Court

PEOPLE: Jessica Ring Amunson, Corinne M. Smith

February 21, 2018 Judge Orders DHS to Respond More Quickly to Muslim Group’s FOIA Request

Jenner & Block Associate Joshua M. Parker and Partner Kelly M. Morrison are mentioned in a Law360 article about the latest development in a Freedom of Information Act request.  The team represents a public interest group called Muslim Advocates on a pro bono basis.  The group seeks information under FOIA related to allegedly discriminatory policies targeting Muslims for searches following the Trump administration’s immigration ban.  According to the article, titled “DHS Must Speed Up Travel-Ban Doc Production, Judge Says,” at a status conference convened at the request of Muslim Advocates, Judge Tanya S. Chutkan ordered the DHS and CBP to “pick up the pace” on its productions in response to Muslim Advocates’ FOIA request.  The judge shot down the CBP’s proposed cap of 250 incident reports, instead ordering that CBP produce the 1,800 incident reports Muslim Advocates requested, and to do so at a faster pace than CBP offered to do.

TAGS: FOIA request, Muslim Advocates

February 20, 2018 Partner Louis Fogel Elected to Board of the Public Interest Law Initiative

PILI’s mission is to cultivate a lifelong commitment to public interest law and pro bono service within the Illinois legal community to expand the availability of legal services for people, families and communities in need.  Mr. Fogel is an alumnus of PILI’s Graduate Fellowship Program, which places associates from Chicago law firms at public interest law agencies in Illinois.

TAGS: PILI, Public Interest Law Initiative

February 16, 2018 The Heart of the Matter 2017 Report
Jenner & Block is pleased to present The Heart of the Matter, our annual report that covers highlights of our pro bono and community service from 2017.
 
Our dedicated micro-website reflects the breadth of Jenner & Block’s pro bono program.  Through featured articles and videos, we have illustrated stories of how Jenner & Block has changed the lives of the clients and organizations we are privileged to represent.
 
To stay informed about new pro bono developments in 2018, please also visit The Heart of the Matter blog.

TAGS: Pro Bono

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