National Law Journal Names Zuckerman Spaeder to its 2021 Pro Bono Hotlist
Zuckerman Spaeder LLP is pleased to announce that it has been named to the National Law Journal’s Pro Bono Hotlist, which annually “recognizes law firms that have led the way on access to justice.” Firm attorneys have been extremely active in representing pro bono clients, helping to deliver justice for individuals, fight institutionalized racism, advance equity in the criminal justice system, and ensure legal protections for immigrants. The award is one of several the firm and its attorneys have received this year for outstanding pro bono efforts.
“It is a true honor to be recognized for exceptional pro bono work, especially when that work is directly addressing some of the most vital issues of the day,” said partner and firm chairman Dwight P. Bostwick. “Our attorneys have shown tremendous commitment in fighting for access to justice, and, in many instances, have become leaders among their peers. Most notable for me is the trailblazing work done by a number of our associates on compassionate release, which became a model for other attorneys working to protect highly vulnerable inmates from the dangers of COVID-19.”
In the National Law Journal’s article about the award, Margarita K. O’Donnell Morales, Zuckerman Spaeder partner and co-chair of the firm’s pro bono practice, discussed the importance of pro bono work, saying that the firm believes it is “important to being a well-rounded lawyer” and that it “provides critical opportunities to promote justice and the rule of law by helping disadvantaged clients.” And partner and pro bono practice co-chair Steven N. Herman provided a “snapshot” of the firm’s work, saying, “we navigate clients through unjust evictions and housing violations; help clients obtain proper health insurance coverage; advocate on behalf of child welfare; and counsel those in the criminal justice system.”
As the pandemic took hold last year, Zuckerman Spaeder attorneys went to extraordinary lengths to secure compassionate release for non-violent prisoners whose health conditions put them at significant risk. Not only did this effort potentially save lives but, as a prominent criminal justice reform attorney said, the firm did “groundbreaking work” that “led to opinions that created new avenues for release.”
The compassionate release work is just one part of the firm’s recent pro bono efforts. Other work includes significant immigration matters, including a case that struck a blow against an apparent attempt by the Department of Justice to impede immigrants’ access to representation in legal proceedings. The firm also achieved a civil rights settlement for a client who had been attacked by a police dog, represented individuals on death row and incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay, and provided legal advice to support challenging pandemic-related loan requirements as racially discriminatory.
Several other organizations have recognized Zuckerman Spaeder and its attorneys for exceptional pro bono work, including the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, which this year honored the firm with the Beacon of Justice Award for its elevated commitment to addressing racial disparities. Also in 2021, the DC Bar awarded attorney David Reiser with its prestigious William J. Brennan Jr. Pro Bono Service Award for his decades of service advocating for the “poor and powerless,” the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland honored Baltimore attorney Alicia Shelton, and the New York State Bar Association recognized the work of New York attorney Devon Galloway.