Former Pro Bono Client Juan Rivera opens Barber College with Former Prison Guard
Our Pro Bono Commitment
The firm represented Juan Rivera in the third retrial of charges for the 1992 rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl. That trial resulted in conviction, and the firm assisted Stanford Law School Professor Lawrence Marshall, former director of Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law’s Bluhm Legal Clinic Center on Wrongful Convictions, who briefed and argued Mr. Rivera’s appeal from that conviction.
In 2011, a unanimous three-judge panel of the Illinois Appellate Court for the Second District reversed Mr. Rivera’s conviction, finding insufficient evidence to support his conviction in light of the DNA evidence excluding him as the perpetrator. Years later, in 2014, authorities announced that DNA evidence from the case matched a potential suspect in a separate murder.
Earlier this year, Mr. Rivera opened Legacy Barber College, 1546 W. Howard in Chicago, with his former prison guard, Bobby Mattison. According to an article in the 49th Ward newsletter, Mr. Rivera “returned to his roots in Rogers Park to make good on a promise he struck in prison with a guard: to give back by helping youth in underserved communities carve a path towards a successful career.”
The barbershop has partnered with Evanston Township High School and Oakton Community College in Des Plaines to offer alternative programs and college credits. The program also offers education on financial literacy, customer service, and how to run a business.
In addition to working with Professor Marshall, the firm partnered with the Bluhm Legal Clinic Center on Wrongful Convictions on the case. The firm team included Partners Thomas Sullivan, Terri Mascherin and Andrew Vail.
In this video, Ms. Mascherin discusses the case.
Moments in History: Jenner & Block's 100-Year Story
Firm's Role In Capital Punishment
The firm played a significant role in the state of Illinois’ journey toward abolishing capital punishment. On this week in 2003, then-Governor George Ryan issued clemency to approximately 160 inmates on the state’s Death Row, commuting their sentences to life in prison without parole. Read more...
A History of Pro Bono and Public Service: 1970sUnited States Attorney for Northern District of Illinois
Partner Thomas P. Sullivan served four years as United States attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. He rejoined the firm after his service.
A History of Pro Bono and Public Service: 1960sSullivan Recruits Pro Bono Lawyers
The US Supreme Court ruled that states must pay for trial transcripts so indigent defendants can appeal their convictions. In response to the ruling, Thomas P. Sullivan and other Jenner & Block lawyers spearheaded the recruitment of lawyers in Illinois to handle the hundreds of appeals of past cases.
A History of Pro Bono and Public Service: 1960sLitigation with Committee on Un-American Activities
Thomas P. Sullivan and Albert E. Jenner, Jr. represented clients in a historic confrontation and extended civil and criminal litigation with the US House of Representatives Committee on Un-American Activities. The committee was later abolished in large part due to these proceedings.
A History of Pro Bono and Public Service: 1950sStart of Pro Bono at Jenner & Block
Thomas P. Sullivan, Prentice H. Marshall and Jerold S. Solovy launched the firm’s commitment to the defense of indigent criminal defendants in the 1950s. All three lawyers joined, and Mr. Sullivan later chaired, the Chicago Bar Association Defense of Prisoners Committee. They not only represented indigent criminal defendants, but they also began recruiting dozens of other Jenner & Block lawyers to the same service. From this, the firm’s nationally recognized pro bono program evolved.