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September 20, 2021

ABA Death Penalty Representation Project presents 2021 Volunteer Recognition Awards

WASHINGTON, Sept. 20, 2021 – The American Bar Association Death Penalty Representation Project will celebrate the work of its volunteer attorneys and capital defender partners Thursday, Sept. 23 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. EDT at the virtual 2021 Volunteer Recognition & Awards Program.

Pro bono firms are nominated by their colleagues for exceptional service to death row prisoners and honored with the Exceptional Service Award. This year’s honorees are Greenberg Traurig and Munger, Tolles & Olson.

Greenberg Traurig has spent decades answering the call for pro bono death penalty defense and providing the highest quality representation. The firm has repeatedly taken on cases in the direst situations where success is unlikely but where the assistance of a zealous advocate remains of the utmost importance, both to the client and to the fair operation of the legal system. Greenberg Traurig’s dedication can be seen in its response to numerous last-minute requests for assistance in cases with an active execution warrant, as well as in its response to the crisis that unfolded in the federal death penalty system just as COVID-19 began spreading around the country. Partners in the capital defense community describe Greenberg Traurig as showing enormous compassion and humanity in valuing the lives of our clients.

Munger, Tolles & Olson has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to pro bono work through its skillful litigation of complex systemic issues affecting death row prisoners and dedication to assisting prisoners whose rights are in jeopardy in individual cases. Munger Tolles’ work has had a broad impact on death-sentenced prisoners throughout the country through its systemic reform efforts, including longstanding efforts to challenge lethal injection protocols that are developed improperly or could cause unconstitutional levels of pain and suffering. In addition to its high-impact systemic work, Munger Tolles has shown a steadfast commitment to assisting prisoners in their individual death penalty cases. Munger Tolles’ commitment to pro bono death penalty representation extends beyond the “ordinary” capital case. The firm has shown an exceptional willingness to assist even those accused of the most heinous crimes out of a recognition that, in such cases the need for vigorous and excellent representation is at its apex.

The Death Penalty Representation Project also recognizes the extraordinary efforts of individual lawyers with the John Paul Stevens Guiding Hand of Counsel Award, which was first presented to Justice Stevens in 2011. This year, the Project honors professor Sandra Babcock, who has dedicated her entire career to defending the rights of death-sentenced individuals, serving as a catalyst for systemic change across the globe. Along with her direct representation of individuals facing the death penalty, Babcock has trained countless lawyers in the United States and Africa, consulted with scores of defense teams, and drafted resource materials and manuals that are now required reading for capital counsel.

ABA President Reginald M. Turner will give opening remarks. Other speakers scheduled to attend include Kathryn M. Ali, a partner at Hogan Lovells; Maurice Chammah, staff writer for The Marshall Project; Kelley J. Henry, Capital Habeas unit chief for Federal Public Defender for the Middle District of Tennessee; Susan M. Hoffman, public service partner at Crowell & Moring; and Shawn Nolan, Capital Habeas unit chief in the Community Federal Defender Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

A registration to the program can be found here.

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