January 13, 2014

Jenner & Block is pleased to share that it has been named to The National Law Journal’s 2014 Pro Bono Hot List and featured in the publication’s January 6, 2014 edition.  We are one of only 10 law firms nationwide that were recognized for this honor.

The NLJ published a feature article on Jenner & Block, focusing on the human trafficking work that has become a hallmark of our pro bono program and quoting our Pro Bono Committee Co-Chair Julie M. Carpenter and former partner Martina Vandenberg.  Partner Lorelie S. Masters is also mentioned.  The NLJ describes two successful—and, according to the reporter, “rare”—outcomes in civil suits that Jenner & Block teams recently achieved for trafficking victims.

In one case, the client had worked as a nanny for a minister-counselor at the Tanzanian Embassy in Washington, D.C.  After four years of working without pay and in inhumane conditions, the client obtained a $1 million judgment against her employer, who first claimed diplomatic immunity and then fled to his home country.  After five years of firm efforts to collect the judgment, including by bringing it to the attention of the United States Congress, the White House and the State Department, a confidential settlement was reached with the government of Tanzania last summer, shortly before a scheduled trip to that country by President Obama. 

The agreement was the first in which a government paid to settle a trafficking case involving one of its diplomats.  Martina, who founded and heads the Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center, told the NLJ that the case set “an incredibly important precedent.”  She also noted that Jenner & Block “lead[s] the nation in handling trafficking cases against foreign diplomats.”

In the second case summarized in the article, a judgment of $369,500 was obtained for a trafficking victim client in May as at least partial compensation for 10 years labor as a housekeeper without pay.  Our client immediately received defendants’ funds held in escrow; an attorney for the defendants is quoted as saying that the rest of the money is “on its way."

Jenner & Block is honored to have been formally recognized by the NLJ, which we believe is a reflection of our unwavering commitment to our core values and continuing efforts toward helping those most in need in our communities.