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The National Law Journal Names Crowell & Moring to 2020 Pro Bono Hot List

Washington – May 6, 2020: The National Law Journal named Crowell & Moring to the 2020 Pro Bono Hot List, an annual list of the law firms and lawyers who “are dedicated to making a monumental impact on the lives of those in need.”

In a Q&A on the firm’s pro bono practice and philosophy, public service partner Susan Hoffman reflected that the firm challenges itself to do well while doing good. “We challenge ourselves to live up to this phrase; to create a firm focused on forming strong, long-lasting relationships and working hard to improve the communities around us.” She noted that the firm’s lawyers contribute more than 40,000 hours in pro bono legal services annually and that the “dedication to providing equal access to justice for all is woven into the fabric of its culture.”

The firm was honored for its pro bono efforts, including its work on two landmark cases. In the first matter, Overbey v. Mayor of Baltimore, our team, along with the ACLU of Maryland, advocated for the free speech rights of people who were abused by Baltimore police. The city prohibited plaintiffs who settle police misconduct cases from speaking about the events precipitating their cases, on pain of losing half their settlement proceeds. In 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that these non-disparagement clauses—essentially gag orders—are tantamount to the payment of “hush money” to keep victims quiet, and are unconstitutional and unenforceable. Representing Ashley Overbey and the Baltimore Brew was Crowell & Moring partner Daniel W. Wolff, counsel Nkechi Kanu and Tyler A. O'Connor, as well as counsel from the ACLU of Maryland.

The second case the firm was honored for, Alabama et al. v. Alabama State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People et al., tackled the rights of voters to sue states under the Voting Rights Act. Voters in Alabama claimed that the state’s at-large elections for its appeals court judges violated the racial discrimination protection of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act by unfairly discriminating against black voters. The state claimed sovereign immunity, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled that immunity did not apply. Crowell & Moring partner Keith J. Harrison, counsel Jay DeSanto Sima Namiri-Kalantari, Diana Jeschke, Britton Davis, and associate Eric Stahl represented the NAACP along with their in-house counsel and lawyers from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Looking ahead, Hoffman noted that the firm continues to be involved in important pro bono matters, including filing a lawsuit as co-counsel with the Catholic Legal Immigration Network against the federal government regarding policy changes to asylum procedures. The firm also continues to pursue freedom for Crosley Green, who has served more than three decades in prison, including 19 years on Florida’s death row, for a murder he did not commit.

“We are honored to be included on the Pro Bono Hot List,” said Philip T. Inglima, chair of Crowell & Moring. “Our pro bono program achieves great results for our clients and generates deep professional challenge, gratification, and pride for our entire community.”

Hoffman’s full Q&A, is available here, and to see the full 2020 Pro Bono Hot List, please visit here.


Andrew Loeb
Communications Specialist