Jenner & Block

Jenner & Block is proud of its 2019 pro bono results:



January 19, 2015 Partner Keri L. Holleb Hotaling Shares Her Pro Bono Experience

Keri Holleb Hotaling 2016 Partners MeetingPartner Keri Holleb Hotaling is a litigator in the firm's Chicago office. She has practiced in a variety of pro bono matters, including serving as chair of the firm's Domestic Violence Pro Bono Program.

Q: What kind of pro bono work do you do at the firm? 
I currently chair the firm’s Domestic Violence Pro Bono Program. Through the program, volunteer Jenner & Block lawyers aid clients in obtaining both emergency and plenary orders of protection in the Circuit Court of Cook County’s Domestic Violence Division.  In my supervisory role, I lead the firm’s efforts in recruiting associates and partners to volunteer their time for the program, manage the monthly lawyer schedule, and supervise associates participating in the program.  My pro bono practice also includes representing clients in civil rights matters and class action litigation in federal and state courts. 

Q: Describe one or two of the most significant pro bono cases you have worked on while at the firm.
Keri: I was a member of the firm’s team in a first-of-its-kind class action lawsuit filed on behalf of women prisoners at the Taycheedah Correctional Institution (TCI) – Wisconsin’s largest women’s prison.  The suit alleged that grossly deficient medical and mental health care jeopardized the lives of the female prisoners and caused great physical pain and mental anguish.  It contended that the prison’s health system violates the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment and the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of equal protection because the women received mental health care far inferior to what male prisoners receive.

As part of the settlement, state officials agreed to implement a number of significant improvements to ensure that constitutionally adequate levels of care are provided to all TCI inmates and that female prisoners receive the same levels of mental health care as the state’s male prisoners.  Among other things, TCI must attain medical accreditation and hire a new associate medical director who will be on-site five days a week to oversee all clinical care, help develop quality improvements and evaluate clinical staff.  The agreement sets forth new standards of care for the prison to meet, including giving inmates a daily opportunity to ask for health care, ensuring proper follow-up care, providing 24-hour emergency medical services and health screening for all incoming prisoners and providing medications on time.

State officials must also complete construction of an off-site women’s resource center that will accept prisoners who need inpatient-level psychiatric services.  Additionally, a number of improvements must be made to ensure the safety and access to core programs and services of prisoners with disabilities.

Q: Why is it important to you to do pro bono?
Keri: My pro bono work is the legal work that I am most proud of.  When you do pro bono work you know you are making a difference because you can feel it. 

Q: How has Jenner & Block supported you in your pro bono practice? 
Keri: Jenner & Block has always been 100 percemt supportive of my pro bono work.  The firm also is committed to its numerous pro bono programs, including the Domestic Violence Pro Bono Program.  Since the inception of the Program in 2011, Jenner & Block lawyers have contributed approximately 1,400 pro bono lawyer hours.  Every month, I am impressed with the associates and partners who step up and volunteer their time to make the program a success.

Q: How has pro bono helped you professionally? 
Keri: As a young associate, I was able to take my first deposition and get my first courtroom experiences on my pro bono matters.  As a young partner, my pro bono work has also allowed me to take on a new leadership role and develop new skills.

Q: What would you tell others about your experience doing pro bono?
Keri: My pro bono matters have always been my most rewarding work.  One of the reasons why is because I choose to work on pro bono matters that touch on issues that I care about deeply.  In the last six years, I have maintained a pro bono practice that has focused on matters that largely impact women and that has been extraordinarily satisfying for me personally.

TAGS: Meet Jenner Block Lawyers

PEOPLE: Keri L. Holleb Hotaling

January 14, 2015 Associate Ishan Bhabha Discusses Washington DC Pro Bono Work

Ishan K. Bhabha is an associate in the litigation department and a member of the Appellate and Supreme Court Practice Group in the firm's Washington, DC office. He has worked on several pro bono cases through the firm's arrangement with the Seventh Circuit.

Q: What kind of pro bono work do you do at the firm?  (Describe individual cases or the programs that you are involved in that provide a pipeline of pro bono work to the firm).
My primary pro bono work has been criminal appeals that I’ve received through the firm’s arrangement with the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.  These cases involve appellate briefing followed by an oral argument. They provide associates with an incredible opportunity not only to hone legal research and writing skills — often on surprisingly unique and complicated issues of criminal law and procedure — but also to then get up in court and argue the case in front of Seventh Circuit judges.  Although the panels always graciously recognize that the lawyers have taken on these cases pro bono at the invitation of the court, that does not mean their questions are any easier by any stretch.  So, taking one of these cases forces you to bring your absolute “A game” and be on your toes throughout the briefing and argument.  

Q: Describe one or two of the most significant pro bono cases you have worked on while at the firm. 
Ishan: The most significant case I have worked on was a Seventh Circuit habeas appeal concerning a state murder conviction.  In short, our client was convicted of murder after a bench trial during which the judge, in pronouncing guilt, made clear that he was basing the conviction on his own suppositions as to what had occurred as opposed to what the evidence actually showed.  Our client had raised this argument multiple times over a 10-year period in various state and federal proceedings and received no relief.  In our appeal to the Seventh Circuit — essentially our client’s last shot — we argued that a conviction based on evidence outside the record violated basic principles of due process.  The Seventh Circuit agreed and ordered the state to retry our client or release him.  The state opted to retry the case (and Jenner & Block lawyers in another office started preparing for trial), but the US Supreme Court then granted the state’s petition for certiorari, and the case is currently pending before the Supreme Court.  Apart from forming a relationship with the client and feeling a sense of accomplishment at working hard for him, with some positive results, this case also exposed me to literally every level of the judicial system in both the state and federal spheres.  This was a fascinating experience from that perspective, and one I will never forget.

Q: Why is it important to you to do pro bono?
Ishan: First and foremost, I think it’s important to do pro bono because it’s easy to forget how unbelievably privileged we as lawyers are, not only personally, but also given that we have the tools to work for justice and fairness within legal structures that are often complex and intimidating for those not versed in the law.  Pro bono work is thus an opportunity to utilize our skills and experience for those less fortunate, who may well have valid claims but are unable to articulate them in a way that is cognizable in court.  I think a second clear benefit is that pro bono work allows you to have myriad professional opportunities that might be difficult to gain through paid work.  Not that paid work isn’t often also very satisfying intellectually, but understandably, clients may want lawyers with greater seniority to handle tasks such as arguing in court or negotiating directly with the other side.  These opportunities are plentiful in the pro bono realm and, combined with the first reason I mentioned, make pro bono a wonderful thing to spend one’s time on.

Q: How has Jenner & Block supported you in your pro bono practice? 
Ishan: Jenner & Block has been extremely supportive of all aspects of my pro bono practice.  Principally, given that my interest is in appellate argument, the firm’s program with the Seventh Circuit provides multiple and easily-accessible ways of getting interesting criminal appellate arguments.  As I saw from one of my cases that developed into a much larger matter, moreover, the firm does not consider the costs associated with seeing a pro bono case through to completion, but rather invests (financially and otherwise) in it as much as it would in any other case.

Q: How has pro bono helped you professionally?
Ishan: Again, I have had many professional experiences — principally three appellate arguments in two years at the firm — that I know I would not have received through my everyday paid work. 

Q: What would you tell others about your experience doing pro bono?
Ishan: It’s a hugely important part of my practice, something I hope to continue throughout my years as a lawyer and something everyone should do to the extent they can!

TAGS: Meet Jenner Block Lawyers

PEOPLE: Ishan K. Bhabha

November 11, 2014 Partner Lindsay Harrison Discusses Her Pro Bono Work

In their words Lindsay HarrisonPartner Lindsay C. Harrison is a litigator who practices in the Appellate and Supreme Court Practice in the firm's Washington, DC office.  She focuses her pro bono work on appellate matters.

Q: What kind of pro bono work do you do at the firm?
Lindsey: I have done mostly appellate pro bono work at the firm.  I have argued an asylum case on behalf of a Cameroonian asylum-seeker in both the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and the US Supreme Court.  I have represented another asylum-seeker in the US Supreme Court.  And I have written amicus briefs in a variety of Supreme Court cases involving issues such as crack-cocaine sentencing, equal protection challenge to US citizenship laws, habeas corpus rights of detainees, and voting rights.   I have also worked closely with the Heartland Alliance National Immigrant Justice Center to bring appellate matters involving asylum law to the Firm, which have provided opportunities for many associates to argue in the federal courts of appeals.

I have also worked on non-appellate matters, including a death penalty case challenging Georgia’s burden of proof for defendants to demonstrate mental retardation.  And I have advised non-profit organizations such as Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, and the National Law Center on Poverty and Homelessness on litigation strategy.

Q: Describe one or two of the most significant pro bono cases you have worked on while at the firm.
Lindsey: The most significant pro bono case I have worked on at Jenner & Block is the asylum case of Jean Marc Nken.  Nken is an asylum-seeker from Cameroon who was jailed and beaten there for his political activism in seeking true democratic governance.  Nken’s case came to us after he lost his first asylum case and he was detained and set for deportation.  We took his appeal all the way to the US Supreme Court, ensuring that he could remain in the United States with his US citizen wife and young son while we fought for his asylum claim.  I have worked with more than 25 Jenner lawyers over the course of three years (and counting) to ensure that Nken prevailed in the Supreme Court, the Fourth Circuit, the Bureau of Immigration Appeals, and the Immigration Judge.  Our efforts have ensured that he could remain here with his family and avoid grave danger that would come to him if he were deported to Cameroon.

Q: Why is it important to you to do pro bono?
Lindsey: Pro bono work makes me a better person and a better lawyer.  My father emigrated from the Soviet Union in the 1970s in order to escape persecution and to afford me and my family a better life in the United States.  Through my pro bono work, I have had the good fortune to provide a similar opportunity to my clients, keeping asylum-seekers safe from persecution and protecting many of the civil rights that make this country free and just.  I have also had incredible opportunities through pro bono work to argue in the US Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals and to collaborate with some of the leading civil rights lawyers in the country on cutting edge litigation.

Q: How has Jenner & Block supported you in your pro bono practice?
Lindsey: Jenner & Block has encouraged me to pursue pro bono work and has given me the resources, support and mentoring to ensure that I would succeed.  As an associate, I was mooted by over 10 lawyers at various times to prepare me for appellate arguments and many other lawyers assisted with briefing and research as well.  Every single lawyer whose assistance I sought out was enthusiastic and supportive in response.  This has continued in my work as a partner, with the firm saying “yes” to every pro bono case I have sought to pursue.

Q: How has pro bono helped you professionally?
Lindsey: Pro bono work has given me opportunities to argue in court and take the lead on briefing.  It has made me a better writer, a better strategist, and a more experienced advocate.  I can sell myself to clients as someone with experience arguing in court because pro bono cases have given me the opportunities to do so.

Q: What would you tell others about your experience doing pro bono?
Lindsey: My experience in pro bono matters has been one of the best parts of being a lawyer at Jenner & Block.


TAGS: Meet Jenner Block Lawyers

PEOPLE: Lindsay C. Harrison

September 30, 2014

Moments in History: Jenner & Block's 100-Year Story

Watch Some of Firm's New York Lawyers Discuss the Victory for Class of Tenants in Pro Bono Housing Matter


Capping a five-year legal battle, the Second Circuit on this day in 2013 affirmed a district court’s approval of a landmark settlement agreement between a class of 22,000 tenants and Pinnacle Group, one of New York City’s largest residential landlords that owned scores of rent-controlled apartments.  Read more ...

TAGS: Class Action, Moments in History

PEOPLE: Katya Jestin

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