WilmerHale was among 14 law firms to receive the National Legal Aid & Defender Association’s (NLADA) 2011 Beacon of Justice Award at the 2011 Exemplar Awards Annual Dinner held in Washington DC on December 6. This year, the Beacon of Justice Award—which changes its focus each year—recognized firms that have innovative public-private partnerships that protect equal justice for all through appellate litigation.
Between October 2010 and October 2011, WilmerHale provided 112,512 pro bono hours, with 24,852 of those hours devoted to pro bono appellate representation. In total, the firm handled 76 pro bono appellate matters during that period.
In the firm’s nomination for the award, Appellate & Supreme Court Litigation
Practice Chair Seth Waxman
described how, since October 2010, WilmerHale attorneys have briefed and argued four pro bono cases on the merits in the US Supreme Court, one of which yielded a victory for a client in a closely watched case involving the right to counsel in a civil case. The remaining cases, which are pending before the Court, involve relief from deportation, qualified immunity for Fourth Amendment claims, and federal habeas corpus
in capital cases. The firm also represented several pro bono clients at the certiorari
The NLADA is America’s oldest and largest nonprofit association devoted to excellence in the delivery of legal services to those who cannot afford counsel. The firm was previously recognized with the Beacon of Justice Award
in 2008 for its significant and exemplary commitment to providing pro bono representation to people on death row, and in 2007 for its pro bono representation and courageous work on behalf of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.