Our Pro Bono Commitment
Moments in History: Jenner & Block's 100-Year Story
Firm Successfully Argues on Behalf of State's Mandatory Seat-Belt Law
Recognizing “Pro Bono Month,” we note Jerry Solovy’s pro bono work in People v. Kohrig. Appointed as a special assistant attorney general, he argued that the state’s then-15-month-old mandatory seat-belt law should be upheld. Read more...
A History of Pro Bono and Public Service: 1990s
The “Baby Richard” Case
Partners Jerold S. Solovy and Robert L. Byman represented the adoptive parents in this highly publicized and controversial case involving a child known as “Baby Richard.” After an extended custody fight, Baby Richard was returned to his birth parents by the Illinois Supreme Court.
A History of Pro Bono and Public Service: 1980sLeader of Court Reform in Illinois, Solovy Commission (1984-92)
Partner Jerold S. Solovy was recognized as an enduring leader in the movement for court reform in Chicago and Illinois. The “Solovy Commission” made approximately 200 reform proposals and, by 1988, it issued numerous reports on the judicial selection process and the financial interests of judges. In 1992, Mr. Solovy served as chairman of the Illinois Supreme Court Special Commission on the Administration of Justice, now known as the “Solovy Commission II.”
A History of Pro Bono and Public Service: 1970sKirby v. Illinois
Jerold S. Solovy successfully argued this case that went all the way to the US Supreme Court. It regarded whether an indigent person is entitled to appointed counsel during a pre-indictment lineup.
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.