Sidley is proud to announce that Public Counsel honored the firm with a 2019 Pro Bono Award, in recognition of two of the firm’s pro bono matters, Gary B. v. Whitmer and Ms. J.P. v. Barr. Founded in 1970, Public Counsel is the largest pro bono law firm in the United States and strives to protect the legal rights of disadvantaged children, represent immigrants who have been the victims of a range of crimes, and foster economic justice by providing individuals and institutions in underserved communities with access to quality legal representation.
The Gary B. team representing schoolchildren attending five of the worst-performing schools in Detroit was commended for “working tirelessly” to defend the students’ right to receive a basic education. The case contends that the State of Michigan violated their rights to an opportunity to attain literacy under the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Currently on appeal, Sidley’s dedicated lawyers continue to support the students in their groundbreaking lawsuit. The Sidley team includes 21 lawyers, led by partners Joshua E. Anderson, Tacy F. Flint, and Carter G. Phillips, associates Lauren M. De Lilly, Lawrence P. Fogel, Rara Kang, Suzanne Brindise Notton and Jennifer M. Wheeler, as well as former partners Michael C. Kelley and Mark E. Haddad and former counsel James Perez.
The Ms. J.P. team is working in tandem with Public Counsel’s Opportunity Under Law Project to file a lawsuit on behalf of a class of parents who were forcibly separated from their children by the Trump administration’s family separation policy. The lawsuit sought a preliminary injunction requiring the government to provide mental health services to a putative class of immigrant families separated upon entry into the United States. On November 6, 2019, in a groundbreaking order, Judge Kronstadt of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted the preliminary injunction and certified the class. The Sidley team includes 55 lawyers, led by partners Michael C. Andolina, Jennifer J. Clark, Ellyce R. Cooper, Kevin M. Fee, Bridget S. Johnsen and Amy P. Lally.