June 01, 2008

Law Firm Spotlight: Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP has been a friend to the Project and to the men and women on death row for many years. Shareholder Charles “Chuck” Patterson has devoted many hours to the Project as a Steering Committee Member. But in the past few months we have called on him and his firm to help with two tough cases that are deserving of special recognition.

The first involves a death row prisoner who served in the Marines during Operation Desert Storm and who may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Chuck and his law firm colleagues Chuck Barquist, Mark McDonald, Elina Kreditor,  Olga Tkachenko, and Danny Aguilar, some of whom are also veterans, agreed to represent the Mississippi native despite the very difficult facts in the case. The client, once suicidal, has responded well to his lawyers and has been able to assist with the defense of his case for the first time.

The second case involved a death row prisoner who had no means of challenging the lethal injection method of execution in Florida. With the man’s execution scheduled just weeks away, Chuck and his firm colleagues were asked to get  involved at the eleventh hour to provide the desperate prisoner with legal representation. They did not hesitate. The terrific lawyers (including Chuck Patterson, Mitchell Wong and Damion Stodola) spent much of the Memorial Day holiday weekend drafting pleadings on the case and strategizing with local Florida lawyers. Long nights and more weekends followed with intense and thoughtful lawyering from the Morrison & Foerster team. Although the client was ultimately executed, the firm can and should feel incredibly proud of its efforts.

The pro bono commitment demonstrated by Morrison & Foerster makes clear the reasons that we recognize the firm and thank its attorneys for their extraordinary service.