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North America Innovative Lawyers 2017: Rule of Law and Access to Justice - Law firms and legal service providers

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Law firms and legal service providers
Total innovation score
StandoutHogan Lovells910827When US President Donald Trump issued his revised executive order, banning individuals travelling from seven Muslim-majority nations, the firm’s litigation team commenced legal proceedings against the president in a court in Hawaii. The team successfully argued that, as the order treats the Muslim religion unfairly, this is a direct violation of Muslim-Americans’ rights under the establishment clause of the first amendment. Commended: Neal Katyal.
StandoutLabaton Sucharow89926Helped to establish the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s whistleblower programme, winning several landmark cases to expose the extent of global corporate wrongdoing. Tips have since come from every US state and more than 100 countries, and have resulted in over $1bn in sanctions. Commended: Jordan Thomas.
StandoutWeil, Gotshal & Manges98926Drawing on the first and 14th amendments, the firm successfully overturned the Mexican-American studies ban in Tucson, Arizona. Lawyers proved that the programme was crucial to graduation and pass rates of Mexican-American students, and that lawmakers responsible for the ban had been racially motivated. The successful challenge has been critical in protecting the voice of Mexican-Americans, acknowledging their place in the American narrative and preserving their history and culture.
StandoutCooley and the ACLU San Diego88925In a case involving the intersection of immigrants’ rights, fair housing and civil rights law, lawyers proved that the refusal by the city of Escondido in California to grant a permit to Southwest Key Programs to operate a group home for unaccompanied immigrant children was racially motivated. Commended: David Loy.
StandoutPerkins Coie and Innovation Law Lab89825Launched the first full-scale centre of excellence, using a collaborative model to scale pro bono representation for asylum seekers rapidly in times of crisis. The model allows lawyers to share information, strategy, tactics and talent, and draws on a network of experts nationwide.
StandoutShearman & Sterling89825Litigators successfully convinced a Floridian court that the application of the intellectual disability exemption to capital punishment was unconstitutional and inconsistent with its accepted diagnostic criteria. Lawyers had Ted Herring’s sentence commuted to life imprisonment.
Highly CommendedAkin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld79824Created monitoring and evaluation tools to enable Lawyers Without Borders to capture real-time data from its rule of law training programmes conducted globally. The data have led to critical programme changes, allowing the organisation to scale its impact and access new grant funding.
Highly CommendedKasowitz Benson Torres89724Represented the family of murdered marine L Cpl Gregory Buckley Jr and marine Maj Jason Brezler, who was accused of sharing classified information on L Cpl Buckley’s killing. The firm has led an effort to address systemic problems with the military discharge system and the lack of information provided to families about the circumstances of deaths in service. It is the first time these issues have been challenged at a federal level. Commended: Michael Bowe.
Highly CommendedRopes & Gray88824In response to the Trump administration’s travel ban, the firm established the Immigration Forum, a firm-wide initiative that mobilises lawyers to provide representation, depending on demand, to asylum seekers and advocate for individual rights.
CommendedCrowell & Moring78823Played an instrumental role in establishing the first ever state-sponsored fund for victims of terrorism abroad, providing an avenue for families to seek compensation. Lawyers led the lobbying effort to have the necessary federal statute passed by congress and overcame considerable opposition from the US state department.
CommendedArnold & Porter Kaye Scholer78722Lawyers created a framework that helps to enforce laws under the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act to protect low-income families in the DC area from being taken advantage of by their landlords.
CommendedDavies Ward Phillips & Vineberg68721Successfully convinced the Court of Arbitration for Sport that the International Association of Athletics Federations’ regulation that bars female athletes from competing if their testosterone levels are too high is discriminatory to female athletes.
CommendedMayer Brown77721Negotiated with the US Department of Justice to secure safe passage for two Yemeni families after they had been sent back on a plane to Yemen despite having successfully petitioned for their right to reside in the US.
CommendedMcGuireWoods68721Played a central role in developing the Human Trafficking Institute and US Department of Justice’s Trafficking in Persons Report. Commended: Betsy Hutson.
CommendedMorrison & Foerster78621Lawyers managed to hold The Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion organisation, accountable for harassing and interfering with the constitutional rights of doctors and women. Commended: Derek Foran.
CommendedOrrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe77721Orchestrated a settlement that made it easier for detained immigrants to access phones and secure legal counsel and assistance. Lawyers established this right under the due process clause. A first for this area of US immigration law.
CommendedProskauer68721The firm has led advocacy for new legislation to mitigate sex trafficking in New York state, where more than 4,000 underage youth are victims each night.
CommendedWhite & Case67821Successfully argued that the Oaxaca state teachers’ union objection to legislative changes in Mexico, requiring teachers to provide their qualifications for evaluation, was a violation of collective human rights to education. This has led to a new definition of the right to access to education.
CommendedFreshfields Bruckhaus Deringer67720Conducted research to show that there was no link between harsher border restrictions and reduced terrorist activity. Lawyers submitted two briefs which were cited in two US courts of appeals and led to the injunction against the travel ban being upheld.
CommendedMcDermott Will & Emery48920Working with the Sikh Coalition and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the firm succeeded in an eight-year lobbying effort to have the US army update its rules governing religious liberty. Service members are no longer forced to choose between their faith and their desire to serve their country.
CommendedPillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman76720Lawyers helped secure a $900,000 settlement between California’s Pomona Unified School District and students who had been abused because of their disabilities. It resulted in the implementation of new policies and practices to ensure a safe educational environment.
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