Lawyers’ Committee Honors Pro Bono Attorneys and Community Leader at the 28th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards Luncheon

Bryan Stevenson, founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative to Give Keynote Address

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 23, 2015
Media Contact: Candice Francis / Communications Director, LCCR /  415.543.9697 x216 / cfrancis@lccr.com

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area will honor ten pro bono attorneys, one legal secretary and two small business owners for their outstanding contribution to social justice and civil rights advocacy at the 28th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards Luncheon, to be held on Friday, January 23rd at The Hilton Union Square in San Francisco. The event, which begins at 11:40 a.m., will also honor the storied legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and mark the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act. Legendary journalist, Belva Davis, will be the emcee.

“This event celebrates the exemplary partnership the Lawyers’ Committee has with the private bar to advance social justice and civil rights. This year, we also honor the leadership some of our corporate partners have demonstrated on behalf of the formerly incarcerated who have paid their debt to society, and seek meaningful employment to support themselves and their family,” said Lawyers’ Committee Legal Director, Oren Sellstrom. “While we are still working to address vestiges of discrimination in many spheres, we mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and pay tribute to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

The keynote address for the event will be delivered by Bryan Stevenson, a widely acclaimed public interest lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated, and the condemned. He is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) in Montgomery, Alabama.  Under his leadership, EJI has won major legal challenges, including several successful cases in the United States Supreme Court where he recently won a ruling holding that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for all children 17 and younger are unconstitutional.

For almost five decades, the credo of the Lawyers’ Committee has been that equal access to justice depends on access to quality legal services. For twenty-eight years, the luncheon has provided an opportunity for the legal community and community advocates to gather in support of the pro bono service that provides access to legal counsel for those with limited resources. The generosity of many, including this year’s lead sponsor, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Foundation, made this event possible.


The 2015 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon Award Recipients

Eric Meckley, Emily Bieber, and Sacha M. Steenhoek of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, and Derek Barrett, president of D &  B Painting Company, and Michael Hannigan, president of Give Something Back Office Supplies, will receive the Corporate Courage Recognition award. The award recognizes the training they are offering employers, or their business plan and fair chance employment practices that help to remove barriers to employment for those with arrest/conviction records.  Krista Kim, of Valence Law Group, PC will receive the James T. Caleshu Award, for an exemplary pro bono contribution to low income individuals through the Legal Services for Entrepreneurs Program.  Suzette Pringle, of Orrick, Herrington, and Sutcliffe LLP, will receive the Keta Taylor Colby Award for outstanding pro bono representation to the poor and under-represented through the Second Chance Legal Clinic, which protects and advances civil rights by addressing the civil consequences of the disproportionate representation of people of color and low-income affected by the criminal justice system. Roseann Cirelli will receive the Anthony F. Logan Award, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to public interest law and the Asylum program. The L.L. Family Asylum Team of Ropes & Gray LLP, Paul J. Cohen, Annie Esser, Idin Kashefipour, and Rocky Tsai, will receive the Father Cuchulain Moriarty Award for an extraordinary pro bono contribution to the Lawyers’ Committee Asylum Project. Neil A. F. Popović of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP will receive the Robert G. Sproul, Jr. Award, for an outstanding pro bono commitment to providing legal representation for under-represented communities and marshaling the resources of her firm to protect and advance civil rights.

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About the Lawyers’ Committee:
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, founded in 1968, works to advance, protect and promote the legal rights of communities of color, low-income persons, immigrants, and refugees. Assisted by hundreds of pro bono attorneys, LCCR provides free legal assistance and representation to individuals on civil legal matters through direct services, impact litigation and policy advocacy. For more information, visit www.lccr.com.