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Jenner & Block Partners Iris E. Bennett and Terrence J. Truax and Associates Joshua A. Block and Matthew S. Hellman were recently honored with Jenner & Block’s Albert E. Jenner, Jr. Pro Bono Award, which annually recognizes those attorneys at the Firm who have been nominated by their peers as having demonstrated an exemplary commitment to pro bono or public service work.
Ms. Bennett, a member of the Firm’s White Collar Criminal Defense and Counseling Practice and Entertainment and New Media Practice, was honored for her pro bono advocacy in support of immigrant rights and human trafficking issues. Ms. Bennett recently devoted a considerable amount of time to the representation of a pro bono client in an immigration detention case before the Seventh Circuit. She worked extensively on the appellate brief in the matter and advocated for her client’s due process rights in oral argument before the court. Ms. Bennett also recently co-authored an influential amicus brief on behalf of the ABA in Lopez v. Gonzalez, which was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of the petitioner immigrant.
Mr. Truax, a member of the Firm’s Litigation Department and Intellectual Property and Business Litigation Practices, was honored for his dedicated representation of poor and underserved individuals in several criminal trial proceedings in 2007. An ardent supporter of the Firm’s pro bono practice in the criminal courts of Cook County, Mr. Truax also provided valuable advice and supervision to numerous attorneys on their pro bono criminal matters. Mr. Truax serves on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Bar Foundation and the Advisory Board of Directors of Breakthrough Urban Ministries, which provides overnight transitional housing and programs for Chicago’s homeless and unemployed. He also serves on the Advisory Board for the Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic.
Mr. Block, a member of the Firm’s Litigation Department, was honored for his work on a number of pro bono matters in 2007. Among other pro bono efforts, Mr. Block assisted in a court-appointed monitorship of the operations of multiple gun dealers, who had agreed to the monitorship pursuant to settlements with The City of New York. Mr. Block also helped draft several briefs filed with the U.S. Supreme Court; authored influential amicus briefs in the Second Circuit and the District of Columbia; and helped prepare a successful appeal of a U.S. Forest Service decision.
Mr. Hellman, a member of the Firm’s Litigation Department and Appellate and Supreme Court and Media and First Amendment Practices, was honored for his pro bono work on behalf of several clients on death row challenging the constitutionality of lethal injection procedures in states throughout the country. Mr. Hellman played a crucial role in conducting discovery and trying the Missouri challenge in the Eighth Circuit, and also worked on the Firm’s petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to review the appellate court’s decision. Mr. Hellman was also a key member of the Firm’s team working on the U.S. Supreme Court case, Baze v. Rees, which set forth standards for the constitutionality of lethal injection.
The pro bono award recipients were selected by the Firm’s Pro Bono Committee. The award entitles the recipients to direct a contribution by the Firm to the charity of their choice.
The awards were presented to the attorneys at a Firm event on October 25, 2008 by Pro Bono Committee Co-Chairs Barry Levenstam and David W. DeBruin and Partner Susan J. Kohlmann, a member of the Firm’s Pro Bono Committee.