Partner Andrew Merrick Elected to the Board of Directors for CARPLS
Jenner & Block Partner Andrew F. Merrick was recently selected to serve a two-year term on the Board of Directors for CARPLS, Cook County’s largest provider of pro bono legal services. Founded in 1993 – then known as the Coordinated Advice & Referral Program for Legal Services – CARPLS has helped more than 800,000 low- and moderate-income residents find solutions to their everyday legal matters.
Mr. Merrick has devoted more than 2,000 hours to representing indigent clients on a pro bono basis since joining Jenner & Block in 2006. In 2016, he received the prestigious Maurice Weigle Exceptional Young Lawyer Award from the Chicago Bar Foundation for his commitment to pro bono, community service and the organized bar. Mr. Merrick is also the president of the Board of Directors of Compass to Care, The Mike & Sandy Ernsdorff Childhood Cancer Foundation.
Partner Helps Second-Year Associate Win Second Pro Bono Jury Trial in Two Years
For the second time in two years, Jenner & Block Partner Louis E. Fogel and second-year Associate Emily K. McWilliams teamed up to win a jury trial for a pro bono client. The case stemmed from a car accident that occurred in January 2015. The client, Sakib Choudhury, initially filed a pro se complaint in the Circuit Court of Cook County, alleging that the defendant collided with his car while the defendant was attempting to merge lanes on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. The defendant’s insurance company denied the claim, forcing Mr. Choudhury to pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket to repair his car. Although he prevailed at non-binding arbitration, the defendant’s insurance company still refused to settle the case.
At that point, the Chicago Bar Association and CARPLS (Cook County’s largest provider of free legal services) reached out to the firm seeking pro bono representation for Mr. Choudhury.
After a one-day trial in which Ms. McWilliams conducted voir dire, selected the six-person jury, presented opening statement, questioned two witnesses on direct and re-direct examination, cross-examined the defendant’s fact witness and made the closing argument, the jury awarded Mr. Choudhury $3300, which was 30 percent more than the defendant’s final settlement offer. The award included transportation-related costs for the four months that Mr. Choudhury did not have access to his vehicle.
Summer associates Mila Babic, Jing X. Quek and Smitha B. Uthaman attended the trial, joining Mr. Fogel and Ms. McWilliams in the judge’s chambers for argument on motions in limine and jury instructions.