Zuckerman Spaeder’s David A. Reiser to Receive William J. Brennan Jr. Pro Bono Service Award

David A. Reiser_bio
David Reiser

For his decades of service advocating on behalf of the “poor and powerless,” Zuckerman Spaeder attorney David Reiser has been named the 2021 winner of the D.C. Bar’s William J. Brennan Jr. Award. The prestigious award is given biannually to one member of the D.C. Bar who has “shown extraordinary commitment and initiative in pursuing equal justice and opportunity for all Americans.”

Mr. Reiser worked for more than a decade at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, before serving in the Clinton Administration as special assistant to the general counsel of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. There, he worked on affordable housing preservation, fair housing, predatory lending, and lead paint remediation. 

Since joining Zuckerman Spaeder in 2001, Mr. Reiser focuses his practice on appellate litigation and devotes a substantial time to pro bono matters. He has been integral in establishing and growing the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia’s Barbara McDowell Appellate Advocacy Project, which litigates appeals for clients and files amicus briefs on issues important to those living in poverty. 

Reflecting on this recognition, Mr. Reiser says, “I am humbled to receive this award and privileged to have had the opportunity to work alongside many talented and dedicated lawyers who devote their time each day to better the lives of needy families and individuals to whom it truly belongs.” As previously shared with the D.C. Bar, Mr. Reiser is a true believer in the impact of this work: “One of the things I think I learned when I was at the Public Defender Service is that you can have great consent decrees and great court remedial orders and not have very meaningful relief for individuals unless there are people fighting in the trenches every day to make sure that the rights that are on paper are actually honored in practice.” 

According to the D.C. Bar, Mr. Reiser’s colleagues have called him “an extraordinary legal strategist with limitless energy” and said that “his efforts in mentoring and encouraging others to take on pro bono work are also remarkable.”

Mr. Reiser has previously been recognized for his remarkable pro bono contributions, including in 2010 by the American Bar Association with its Pro Bono Publico Award and in 2006 by the District of Columbia Legal Aid Society, who named him a Servant of Justice.

Mr. Reiser will receive the award on June 24 at the D.C. Bar’s annual Celebration of Leadership.

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Kalie Walrath
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