NEW YORK, June 20, 2017: Morgan Lewis has been selected as one of the recipients of the American Bar Association’s 2017 Pro Bono Publico Award for the firm’s work as a member of the Justice Index Team, a group of law firms, law schools, and corporations who help support the model for expanding access to justice that has been established by the National Center for Access to Justice at Fordham Law School.
The Justice Index is the National Center’s online resource that scores and ranks the 50 states, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico on their adoption of selected best practices for ensuring access to justice, creating incentives for state officials to replicate those practices. It relies on findings, indicators, indexing, and other data-analytics tools to help ensure that an individual’s ability to protect and vindicate his or her rights in a state justice system does not depend on whether that individual can afford a lawyer, speak and understand English, or navigate the legal system without an accommodation due to a physical or mental disability.
“Access to justice is a vital component of our democracy, and I’m proud of our work with the Justice Index Team and NCAJ,” Firm Chair Jami McKeon said. “Morgan Lewis is deeply committed to pro bono service, and we thank the ABA Standing Committee for recognizing this important effort.”
The annual award is presented by the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, which works to ensure access to justice through the expansion and enhancement of the delivery of legal and other law-related services to the underserved through volunteer efforts of legal professionals nationwide. The award honors individual lawyers, law firms, law schools, government attorney offices, corporate law departments, and other institutions in the legal profession that have enhanced the dignity of others by providing such volunteer legal services.
In announcing the awards, the committee said that the recipients have provided services that are “of critical importance to the increasing number of people in this country living in a state of poverty who are in need of legal representation to improve their lives.”
Morgan Lewis’s pro bono practice, which spans all of the firm’s offices around the globe, provides more than 1,500 pro bono clients each year with legal services. In 2016, the firm contributed more than 100,000 hours—or 60 hours per lawyer—to pro bono representation.