Zuckerman Spaeder Receives NLADA’s Beacon of Justice Award

Zuckerman Spaeder LLP is pleased to announce it has been honored with the Beacon of Justice Award by the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA). This year’s award recognizes firms that have demonstrated an elevated commitment to promoting equal justice and addressing systemic racial disparities in 2020. The award will be presented at the 2021 NLADA Exemplar Virtual Awards Gala on June 9. 

Throughout 2020, Zuckerman Spaeder sought to combat systemic racism on several fronts, including through helping clients navigate the criminal justice, housing, and immigration legal systems.

The firm represented over a dozen indigent incarcerated individuals, many of whom were elderly, ill, or at heightened risk of severe complications from COVID-19, in moving courts to reduce their sentences given an “extraordinary and compelling reason.” In several instances, the firm was successful in securing court-ordered release with record speed and for clients who had only served a fraction of their sentence.

In addition to compassionate release representations during the height of the pandemic, the firm continued representing individuals on death row or in Guantanamo detention facilities – places that are disproportionately populated by people of color, provided legal advice to support challenging pandemic-related loan requirements as racially discriminatory, and advocated before Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to cancel the immigration detainer of a client who faced potential ICE custody after being released from prison.

The firm also fought against the Trump Administration’s attempts to deprive immigrants of legal representation by defending a non-profit organization providing sanctuary to a Hispanic immigrant, representing three unaccompanied and undocumented Hispanic children in securing Special Juvenile Immigrant Status, and defeating a challenge to non-attorney representation of immigrants – primarily people of color from Latin America – in immigration court.

In gratitude for this recognition, Zuckerman Spaeder Partner and Pro Bono Program Co-Chair Steve Herman said, “Zuckerman Spaeder LLP is grateful that NLADA has dedicated this year’s Beacon of Justice Award to highlighting firms taking part in the fight against systemic racism. By showcasing this work and providing a forum to discuss the myriad issues in the fight, we are able to engage more allies and advocates in using the law to pursue racial equity.”

These representations demonstrate Zuckerman’s long-standing dedication to community service and pro bono representations and the firm’s commitment to addressing racial inequities in our society.

For more information about NLADA and the Beacon of Justice Award, please visit www.nlada.org

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Kalie Walrath
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