WASHINGTON, July 20, 2020 — Steven A. Reiss, recently retired partner of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and general counsel to the Brennan Center for Justice, is the 2020 recipient of the John H. Pickering Award of Achievement, presented by the American Bar Association Senior Lawyers Division. Reiss will be recognized at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 29, during the ABA Annual Meeting, which will be held virtually due to the COVID-19 epidemic.
The award honors the life and accomplishments of John H. Pickering, co-founder of the Washington, D.C., law firm formerly known as Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (now WilmerHale), who was involved in a variety of pro bono activities and law-related societal issues affecting older adults. It recognizes lawyers or judges who demonstrate outstanding legal ability and have compiled a distinguished record of service to the profession and their communities, resulting in significant contributions to improving access to justice for all.
Reiss, a lecturer in law at Columbia Law School, is the co-author of “Modern Federal Jury Instructions,” a standard reference work on jury instructions and practice in the federal courts. He is also the author of numerous books and articles on jury instructions and white-collar crime and has received a host of accolades for his litigation skills and dedication to pro bono work.
During his time at Weil, where he headed the firm’s appellate and antitrust litigation practices, Reiss was an internationally recognized litigator known for his expertise in complex civil, criminal and international matters. In recent years, he represented companies in many major international antitrust investigations and litigations. He also had extensive experience in representing companies and individuals in other high-stakes/high-profile matters – including major constitutional litigation – at trial and on appeal.
Additionally, Reiss was co-chair of Weil’s award-winning pro bono committee. Among his biggest victories was the landmark case Gonzalez v. Douglas, which challenged the constitutionality of an Arizona statute banning Mexican American “ethnic studies” in public schools. On top of the win, he negotiated a multimillion-dollar settlement with the state of Arizona for the legal fees to fund various projects and fellowships of the Mexican American community.
Reiss was named a “recommended” lawyer by Legal 500 in several categories: Antitrust: Cartels; Antitrust: Civil Litigation and Class Actions; Appellate: Supreme Court; and Corporate Investigations and White-Collar Criminal Defense. He was also recognized by The Best Lawyers in America, Benchmark Litigation and Who’s Who Legal.
Reiss has served on the boards of the Brennan Center for Justice, the Innocence Project, Oxfam America, Volunteers of Legal Services and Modern States, an organization dedicated to making college education more affordable. He has litigated significant cases for numerous civil rights organizations, including the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and the ACLU. He was the recipient of the Law & Society Award given by New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.
Reiss served as a law clerk to Justice William J. Brennan Jr. of the U.S. Supreme Court and to Judge John Minor Wisdom of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. He is a graduate of Stanford Law School, where he was articles editor of the Law Review, and Vassar College, where he has served as a trustee.
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