A History of Pro Bono and Public Service: 1990sDowaliby Case
In 1988, 7-year-old Jaclyn Dowaliby was taken from her home and murdered. Her parents, David and Cynthia Dowaliby, were charged and tried in 1990 represented by private counsel. The trial judge dismissed the case against Mrs. Dowaliby at the close of the State’s evidence, but allowed the jury to deliberate as to Mr. Dowaliby. The jury convicted and Mr. Dowaliby was sentenced to 45 years of imprisonment. Jenner & Block agreed to take over the representation of the family on appeal. In addition, the firm represented Mr. Dowaliby in a week-long evidentiary post-trial hearing and in a separate week-long custody trial in which the State attempted – and failed – to take custody of the Dowalibys’ other two children. In 1992, the Illinois Appellate Court reversed Mr. Dowaliby’s conviction – finding that there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction – and he was released from prison. The Jenner & Block team included Partners Robert L. Byman, J. Kevin McCall and Terrence J. Truax.
A History of Pro Bono and Public Service: 1980sUnited States Attorney for Northern District of Illinois (1985-89)
Firm Chairman, Anton R. Valukas served four years as United States attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and then rejoined the firm.
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: 1980sLeader of “Greylord” Investigation in Chicago
As U.S. attorney from 1977-1981, Thomas P. Sullivan conceived and implemented the “Operation Greylord” investigation of the Cook County court system in Illinois. The operation, which became public in 1984, uncovered widespread corruption and eventually resulted in numerous indictments and convictions of public officials.
A History of Pro Bono and Public Service: 1980sFirst Female Chair of ABA Section of Litigation
In 1982, Partner Joan M. Hall became the first female chair of the American Bar Association Section of Litigation. That same year, she was the fourth woman elected as a Fellow to the American College of Trial Lawyers. From 1985 to1991, she served on the ABA’s Federal Judiciary Committee. After retiring from the practice of law, she went on to be the founder and president of the Board of Directors of the Young Women’s Leadership Charter School of Chicago. The only all-girls charter public school in the city, the school opened in 2000.
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: 1970sIllinois State Board of Elections v. Socialist Workers Party
In 1978, Associate Jeffrey D. Colman argued this case in the U.S. Supreme Court. The case arose out of the need for a special mayoral election in Chicago following the death of Mayor Richard J. Daley. At issue was a disparity in signature requirements for independent candidates running for statewide versus local office. The Supreme Court unanimously (albeit in five opinions) adopted our argument that the signature requirement disparity violated equal protection guarantees.
Read the 2011-2012 edition of the of The Heart of the Matter pro bono newsletter
A History of Pro Bono and Public Service: 1970sElrod v. Burns
John C. Tucker, a lawyer and partner at Jenner & Block from 1958 to1985, argued this case in the US Supreme Court. Agreeing with Mr. Tucker’s argument, the Court struck down Chicago’s patronage system. Mr. Tucker helped win $1.2 million in back pay for Republican deputies fired when Democrat Richard Elrod became sheriff in 1970.
Moments in History: Jenner & Block's 100-Year Story
Watch Partner Terri Mascherin Discuss the Release of Firm's Pro Bono Client After Serving 19 Years
A team working with attorneys from Northwestern University Law School’s Bluhm Legal Clinic Center on Wrongful Convictions and Stanford Law School Professor Lawrence Marshall represented Juan Rivera in appealing his third conviction of the 1992 rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl, Holly Staker. Read more...
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: 1960sWitherspoon v. Illinois Impacts 350 People on Death Row
In this landmark death penalty case, the Jenner & Block team led by Albert E. Jenner, Jr. helped stop a planned state execution of Mr. Witherspoon on constitutional grounds just a few weeks before the sentence was scheduled to be carried out. Mr. Jenner argued that the jury selection process was unconstitutional and impermissible. The US Supreme Court agreed. After this ruling, an estimated 350 people on death row across the United States were re-sentenced.
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: 1960sSenior Counsel to Warren Commission
Albert E. Jenner, Jr. held various prominent public service positions throughout his long career. Among other things, he served as senior counsel to the Warren Commission that was created to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.