23rd Anniversary & Volunteer Awards

Each year the Project celebrates its dedicated volunteers at our Anniversary & Volunteer Recognition Event. Pro bono firms are nominated by their colleagues for exceptional service to prisoners on Death Row and honored with our award. Award criteria include commitment above and beyond to pro bono death penalty work through the number of death penalty cases handled; financial and hourly commitment in ratio to resources; attention devoted to the death penalty debate; significant impact on the justice system through legal victory, legislation, and/or litigation.

Thursday, September 24, 2009 
Woodruff Arts Center, Atlanta, Georgia, 6-8 p.m.


Woodruff Arts Center
1280 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, Georgia

For more information about this event please contact the Project at (202) 662-1738 or email us at .

Event Media


Program Booklet

Exceptional Service Award

Each year pro bono firms are nominated by their colleagues for exceptional service to prisoners on Death Row and honored with our Exceptional Service Award. The Death Penalty Representation Project presents the 2009 Exceptional Service Awards for exceptional pro bono contributions on behalf of death-sentenced prisoners to Dykema Gossett PLLC and Goodwin Procter LLP.


Dykema has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to capital pro bono legal service. The firm strives to make things right in the lives of people who otherwise might have no help and is fully committed to using its resources in support of capital pro bono efforts. During the past 20 years Dykema has worked on three Georgia death penalty cases and the firm’s professionals have donated more than 5,265 hours of time.

Goodwin Procter

Goodwin Procter LLP prides itself on its commitment to the rights of Death Row inmates. For more than 15 years the firm represented three clients on Death Row and wrote an amicus brief challenging the constitutionality of lethal injection in Baze v. Rees.

Read more about the awards and learn about past award recipients here.

Featured Speaker

Stephen Bright

President & Senior Counsel, Southern Center for Human Rights

Stephen B. Bright is one of the country’s leading human rights advocates and attorneys. He is president and senior counsel at the Southern Center for Human Rights, an Atlanta-based public interest project that provides legal representation to individuals facing the death penalty and to prisoners challenging unconstitutional conditions throughout the South. Mr. Bright is an expert on the criminal justice and prison systems and has represented Death Row inmates at trial, on appeal, and in post-conviction proceedings since 1979. In addition, he has written essays and articles on the right to counsel, racial discrimination in the criminal justice system, judicial independence, and other topics that have appeared in scholarly publications, books, magazines and newspapers; and testified before committees of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. A prolific scholar, Mr. Bright currently teaches part-time at Georgetown and Yale Law Schools. His work and the work of the Southern Center for Human Rights have been the subject of the documentary film Fighting for Life in the Death Belt (2005), as well as two books, Proximity to Death by William McFeely (1999) and Finding Life on Death Row by Kayta Lezin (1999). The Fulton County Daily Report named Mr. Bright “Newsmaker of the Year” in 2003 for his contribution to bringing about creation of a public defender system in Georgia. He received the American Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award in 1998 and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. We are delighted that he will be our keynote speaker at this year’s event.


In support of the work of the ABA Death Penalty Representation Project and those honored at the event we would like to provide the opportunity to purchase ad space in acknowledgement of these individuals and to have your own organization recognized by those attending.

The Project would like to thank our sponsors for 2009:

  • Alston & Bird LLP
  • Arnold & Porter LLP
  • Bingham McCutchen LLP
  • Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP
  • Crowell & Moring LLP
  • Goodwin Procter LLP
  • Jenner & Block LLP
  • Sidley Austin LLP

Thank you to our sponsors!