International law firm Dorsey & Whitney LLP is pleased to announce that the Firm has received one of two 2020 Exceptional Service Awards from the American Bar Association (ABA) Death Penalty Representation Project. Dorsey was recognized for its long history of representing inmates on death row going back to the 1980s.
The ABA created the Death Penalty Representation Project in 1986, in order to better inform the bar and public about the lack of representation available to death row inmates. The Project addresses this urgent need by recruiting competent, volunteer attorneys, offering counsel training and assistance, and working for systemic reform to ensure that individuals facing a sentence of death are represented at every stage of the proceedings by competent counsel.
Dorsey has zealously represented at least eight people convicted of capital crimes, starting with Ernest Busby in 1985, whose sentence was reduced to life in prison after the Louisiana Supreme Court vacated his death sentence. Most recently, Dorsey’s client Bruce Webster was found to be intellectually disabled and ineligible for execution by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana in 2019, and received a groundbreaking reversal of death sentence. For over 35 years, Dorsey lawyers and staff have fought tirelessly for the lives of their clients who have been condemned and sentenced to die.
Since becoming a charter signatory to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge in 1993, Dorsey has met the Challenge each year and contributed at least three percent of billable hours to pro bono work. In 2019, Dorsey’s U.S. offices logged more than 34,000 challenge pro bono hours.
“Community is a Dorsey core value, and pro bono work is one of the most important ways we give back to the community,” said Bill Stoeri, Managing Partner of Dorsey & Whitney. “Our attorneys exemplify that core value through their commitment and passion to help the disadvantaged in our communities obtain access to legal services. We are extremely honored by this recognition.”
The Exceptional Service Awards will be presented virtually on September 24, during the 2020 Volunteer Recognition & Awards Program honoring the award recipients.