June 29, 2012

Jenner & Block has been recognized as the No. 1 law firm in the country for pro bono service by The American Lawyer magazine in its annual pro bono rankings.  More than 71,000 hours of pro bono service were provided by Jenner & Block attorneys in 2011 in a wide range of matters, from litigation in trial and appellate courts across the country to transactional work for nonprofits.

The Firm obtained the top ranking through a combination of having 154.9 average pro bono hours per attorney, as well as having 85% of our attorneys - 100% of associates and approximately two-thirds of partners - contribute more than 20 hours to pro bono matters.

“This is a significant honor for our Firm,” said Jenner & Block Managing Partner Susan C. Levy.  “The AmLaw recognition confirms the substantial commitment and efforts our Firm made in 2011 to helping the neediest in our communities, and reflects our unwavering commitment to Jenner & Block’s core values.”

Jenner & Block’s long-standing tradition of providing legal services to those without the resources to pay for them has been recognized by The American Lawyer as one of the top 10 programs in the country every year since 1990, and the Firm has been ranked No. 1 in the country five times – in 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008 and 1999.

The wide variety of pro bono matters handled by the Firm during 2011 included human rights and civil liberties, asylum and immigration, death penalty litigation and other indigent criminal defense, not-for-profit transactional work, education, disability rights, domestic and family law, environmental law, housing and veterans’ benefits.

In one very notable criminal defense case, the Firm, working with attorneys from Northwestern School of Law’s Center on Wrongful Convictions and Stanford Law School Professor Lawrence Marshall, represented Juan Rivera, in an appeal of his third conviction of the 1992 murder of an 11-year-old in Lake County, Illinois.  In December 2011, a unanimous three-judge panel of the Illinois Appellate Court for the Second District reversed Mr. Rivera’s conviction, outright, and Mr. Rivera was released after serving 19 years in prison.  The case received widespread media attention, as there are few reported decisions in Illinois, or elsewhere, reversing murder convictions outright, and this case is unique even among those few decisions, in that it involved evidence of a confession.

Also, in one of Jenner & Block’s most significant pro bono victories in recent years, a landmark settlement agreement was reached between the Firm’s client, a class of 22,000 tenants, living in rent-controlled apartments in the greater New York City area, and one of the city’s largest residential landlords, and ultimately approved by the federal court.  The landlord had been accused of orchestrating efforts to force the rent-regulated tenants to move out of their apartments so new tenants – not under rent control – could move in.