Jenner & Block

The Heart of the Matter Blog

May 5, 2017 Firm’s Washington, DC Office Recognized as Pro Bono Leader

Jenner & Block’s Washington, DC office was once again recognized for its outstanding leadership in the area of pro bono service.  At the 14th annual “40 at 50” Judicial Pro Bono Recognition Breakfast held on April 27, 2017 at the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse,the judges of the District of Columbia federal courts honored local law firms in which at least 40 percent of all attorneys dedicated 50 or more hours in 2016 to providing free legal representation to individuals with limited financial resources or to charitable organizations.  Chief Judge Merrick B. Garland of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit and Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell of the US District Court for the District of Columbia were among those in attendance.

Judge Garland expressed his gratitude to the legal community for fighting for access to justice in the District. “The need is high. You fill that gap,” Garland said, also telling the assembled lawyers that their work tells people that they matter. “Clients get validation that their legal problems are important,” he stated.

Beyond achieving the “40 at 50” benchmark, Jenner & Block was noted as one of a select group of three firms where more than 65 percent of all attorneys contributed at least 50 hours of pro bono service in 2016.

The DC Circuit Judicial Conference Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services sponsors this annual event to promote the goal that each lawyer in the District contribute at least 50 pro bono hours per year.  The Judicial Conference has recognized the firm every year since the “40 at 50” list’s inception.

To read the Judicial Conference’s press release, please click here.

CATEGORIES: Awards, DC, Pro Bono

May 5, 2017 Firm’s Washington, DC Office Recognized as Pro Bono Leader

Jenner & Block’s Washington, DC office was once again recognized for its outstanding leadership in the area of pro bono service.  At the 14th annual “40 at 50” Judicial Pro Bono Recognition Breakfast held on April 27, 2017 at the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse,the judges of the District of Columbia federal courts honored local law firms in which at least 40 percent of all attorneys dedicated 50 or more hours in 2016 to providing free legal representation to individuals with limited financial resources or to charitable organizations.  Chief Judge Merrick B. Garland of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit and Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell of the US District Court for the District of Columbia were among those in attendance.

Judge Garland expressed his gratitude to the legal community for fighting for access to justice in the District. “The need is high. You fill that gap,” Garland said, also telling the assembled lawyers that their work tells people that they matter. “Clients get validation that their legal problems are important,” he stated.

Beyond achieving the “40 at 50” benchmark, Jenner & Block was noted as one of a select group of three firms where more than 65 percent of all attorneys contributed at least 50 hours of pro bono service in 2016.

The DC Circuit Judicial Conference Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services sponsors this annual event to promote the goal that each lawyer in the District contribute at least 50 pro bono hours per year.  The Judicial Conference has recognized the firm every year since the “40 at 50” list’s inception.

To read the Judicial Conference’s press release, please click here.

CATEGORIES: Awards, DC, Pro Bono

May 4, 2017 Pro Bono Client Released From Prison Pending Appeal and Retrial

On April 27, pro bono client Patrick Pursley was released from prison on bond after being incarcerated for more than 23 years on a murder conviction that was recently thrown out.

Earlier this year, lawyers from Jenner & Block won Mr. Pursley a new trial based on new ballistics evidence establishing that a gun recovered from his residence did not—contrary to evidence presented at his 1994 trial—fire bullets and cartridge cases found at the crime scene.  17th Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Joseph McGraw further ruled that new testimony and conclusions by the State of Illinois’ own examiners, who refuted Illinois State Police testimony presented at Mr. Pursley’s initial trial, entitled Mr. Pursley to a new trial.  The State is appealing Judge McGraw’s decision.

The firm’s lawyers appeared before Judge McGraw on April 13 and argued that, given the likelihood Mr. Pursley would be acquitted of the charges against him at a retrial, he should be granted a low monetary bond pending the appeal.  The judge set a bond of $50,000 for Mr. Pursley, a fraction of the $500,000 to $1 million bond sought by the State. The judge’s decision required Mr. Pursley to post bail of $5,000, which he did with the help of friends and family. The Rockford Register Star published a story Mr. Pursley’s release, in which he said that the Jenner & Block team and other lawyers representing him were “doggedly determined and excellent.”

Jenner & Block, along with Steven A. Drizin of the Northwestern Center on Wrongful Convictions, has represented Mr. Pursley since 2008, winning on appeal a reversal that he was entitled to new ballistics testing under the Illinois Post Conviction Act. You can read more about that work in The National Law Journal  article titled, “This Win Required a Trip to the Legislature.”

The Jenner & Block team representing Mr. Pursley includes Partners Andrew W. Vail and Robert R. Stauffer and Associates Kevin J. Murphy and Monika N. Kothari.

 

CATEGORIES: Litigation, Pro Bono

PEOPLE: Andrew W. Vail, Robert R. Stauffer, Kevin J. Murphy, Monika N. Kothari