Wilkinson Walsh has a deep and lasting commitment to providing pro bono representation. All of our attorneys devote significant time and attention to pro bono matters, with substantial support from the firm as a whole. In recognition of our work in this area, Vault has consistently ranked us as one of the top five midsize law firms for pro bono and noted that, “in terms of pro bono, the firm is all in, offering tremendous support for attorneys taking on such matters.” Wilkinson Walsh was also recently shortlisted by Chambers & Partners for its “Pro Bono Program of the Year” award.
Here are just a few examples of the breadth of our pro bono successes:
- Wilkinson Walsh has a long history of working in conjunction with the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project (DCVLP) on behalf of victims of domestic abuse and their children. In recognition of that work, DCVLP honored five Wilkinson Walsh associates in 2017 as DCVLP’s Domestic Relations Branch Volunteers of the Year for their work on numerous cases. As one example, Wilkinson Walsh associates secured a favorable judgment in a pro bono custody and divorce case in D.C. Superior Court after a six-day trial involving eleven witnesses. The Court awarded Wilkinson Walsh’s client primary residential custody and joint legal custody, with tiebreaker decision making authority, of her five minor children. The judge also awarded her a monetary judgment of more than a quarter-million dollars, along with ongoing child support that will help her establish financial independence in her new life.
- Wilkinson Walsh successfully represented one of the more than 150 defendants arrested for their alleged role in Inauguration Day protests in 2017.
- A Wilkinson Walsh associate partnered with the Eastern District of Virginia Federal Public Defender to represent a 26-year-old self-taught computer programmer who was indicted on allegations of knowingly developing and selling malware on the internet. After negotiating a favorable plea agreement and helping the firm’s client obtain a shorter sentence than the government sought, Wilkinson Walsh helped navigate the client's subsequent cooperation with the government in its search for computer hackers across the globe.
- A number of our attorneys have been appointed to serve as appellate pro bono counsel by different Federal Courts of Appeals. As one example, a Wilkinson Walsh associate was appointed by the D.C. Circuit to argue on behalf of a pro se litigant who challenged employment decisions on disparate treatment and impact bases but had lost on summary judgment. Adopting Wilkinson Walsh’s arguments, the D.C. Circuit reversed the lower court opinion, remanded the case for further proceedings, and in the process clarified D.C. Circuit law on disparate treatment claims, potentially establishing a major precedent going forward in employment discrimination cases.
- Wilkinson Walsh associates successfully represented Momolu Stewart in his efforts to obtain resentencing under DC’s Incarceration Reduction Amendment Act. Wilkinson Walsh built a record over the course of a year and ultimately convinced the court that Stewart should be resentenced based on the circumstances of his childhood, his accomplishments during his time in prison, and his demonstrated rehabilitation and fitness to society. Wilkinson Walsh currently represents several other inmates in IRAA proceedings.
- Recently, Wilkinson Walsh joined forces with the ACLU of Missouri and the MacArthur Justice Center to represent a class of inmates challenging the Missouri Department of Corrections’ systematic denial of potentially life-saving medications for individuals with chronic Hepatitis C. Last fall, the Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of class certification and trial is scheduled to begin in late 2020. A team of Wilkinson Walsh associates recently filed a motion for preliminary injunction that would require the Department and its contractor, Corizon, to begin treating class members immediately, and conducted several witness examinations at a recent injunctive hearing.
- We also have an active practice of drafting pro bono amicus briefs on a broad array of issues in the Supreme Court and in appellate courts across the county. Our clients have included Amnesty International, the Constitution Project, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, the National Associate of Disability Representatives, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and Paralyzed Veterans of America.