Mr. Oleskey has a forty-year commitment to pro bono legal work. In recognition of this commitment, the American Bar Association awarded him the 2007 Pro Bono Publico Award for his outstanding pro bono work, both in his individual practice and as an advocate for pro bono services at WilmerHale and throughout the legal community.
Mr. Oleskey has been co-lead counsel since 2004 in the case of Boumediene v. Bush, a federal habeas corpus suit challenging the imprisonment of six men from Bosnia in Guantanamo Bay since January 2002 without charge or trial. The United States Supreme Court ruled on June 12, 2008 that the Guantanamo Bay detainees are constitutionally entitled to habeas corpus. Following that decision and the resulting first-ever Guantanamo habeas trial, a federal court judge ordered five of the six men released immediately.
In 2004, WilmerHale awarded him its John H. Pickering Award for Pro Bono Activities for his "exemplary dedication to the provision of pro bono publico legal services.”
He also has received the Boston Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award "for exemplary commitment to public service and outstanding advocacy on behalf of low-income citizens of Massachusetts,” and the Greater Boston Legal Services’ Dow-Gardner-Landrum Award "for outstanding commitment to legal services for the poor.”
A past director and president of the Greater Boston Legal Services, Mr. Oleskey is also a past director and chairman of the board of the Boston Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyers Project. He was appointed to the board of the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation in 1995 by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and was chair from 2003 to 2005. He served from 1998 to 2008 as chairman of the Massachusetts Equal Justice Coalition. He presently chairs the Board of Directors of Pact, Inc., an international sustainable development NGO headquartered in Washington, DC with programs in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia.
Mr. Oleskey also served on the national board and as general counsel to the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund (now Legal Momentum), the preeminent national legal advocacy and education entity for women’s rights, from 1995 to 2003.
Mr. Oleskey is a member of the American, New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Boston Bar Associations. He is a fellow of the American and Boston Bar Foundations and has served as an elected council (board) member of the Boston Bar Association. A trained and certified mediator, he is also a member of the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution, located in New York City.