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Jenner & Block Partner Jeremy M. Creelan has been named one of New York Law Journal’s 2015 honorees for Lawyers Who Lead by Example. Mr. Creelan was recognized in the Public Service category, as a lawyer who has “demonstrated leadership through careers in public service or devotion to improving the legal system and the profession in New York.” His deep commitment to public-minded work has spanned two decades and has resulted in the enactment of considerable legislative, ethics and criminal justice reform for the State of New York, as well as significant victories in pro bono matters.
This past year, Mr. Creelan led New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s efforts to reform the New York State juvenile justice system as co-chair of the Commission on Youth, Public Safety & Justice. As part of its mandate, the Governor asked the commission to weigh how best to "raise the age" of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18. Through a labor-intensive and wide-ranging process, Mr. Creelan gained unanimous commission support for a comprehensive set of reforms that will, when enacted, transform New York State’s juvenile justice system. As a first step, in late June, the governor responded by announcing that he would act by executive order to remove juvenile detainees from state prisons.
Mr. Creelan and others at the firm also achieved major wins in a continuing fight to help Vietnam veterans suffering from PTSD. Acting as co-counsel with Yale's Legal Services Organization Veterans Clinic, the firm challenged the US Armed Forces' less-than-honorable discharges of such veterans for conduct directly related to – but never diagnosed as – PTSD. That class action lawsuit led not only to discharge upgrades for the named plaintiffs but also to the defense secretary's decision to issue a guidance memorandum to the administrative boards that consider discharge upgrade applications to require them to consider PTSD diagnoses affirmatively as a basis for upgrade. That work continues as the firm and Yale monitor how the boards are applying that guidance to veterans' applications.
A profile of Mr. Creelan will appear in a New York Law Journal special section on October 14, and he will be honored at an event that evening.