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November 22, 2013 - Locke Lord LLP was honored last night with the 2013 Pro Bono Leadership Award at the Texas Appleseed's "Good Apple Dinner" in Austin.
The non-profit bestowed the award on Locke Lord in recognition of work it did leading to landmark reform of the criminal justice system in Texas.
A team of nearly 40 Locke Lord lawyers – led by Dallas Partner Kip Mendrygal – interviewed prosecutors across Texas, analyzing their criminal discovery practices and finding systemic inconsistencies from county to county regarding what information was provided to defendants during discovery.
This research led to the passage of the Michael Morton Act, a state law requiring prosecutors turn over all evidence to defense attorneys in criminal cases. The legislation was signed by Texas Governor Rick Perry in May 2013.
The law was named after Michael Morton, who was wrongly convicted of killing his wife and incarcerated 25 years before being exonerated.
"Locke Lord places high importance on giving back to the community through our pro bono work," said Jerry Clements, Chair of Locke Lord. "This award is particularly gratifying because it recognizes the hard work our team put into the passage of the Michael Morton Act, while celebrating the positive changes we can make volunteering our time to help others."
The Firm's pro bono commitment crosses all offices, with involvement in matters around the world. In 2012 alone, Locke Lord lawyers volunteered more than 10,000 pro bono hours to a wide range of causes, from political asylum cases to resolving tax matters for the underprivileged.
Locke Lord Dallas Partner Elizabeth Mack has served since 2007 on the board of Texas Appleseed, an organization that solicits assistance of lawyers and other professionals to find practical solutions to a wide range of social issues.
Locke Lord consistently ranks among American Lawyer's top 100 U.S. law firms. The Firm's full range of practice and industry areas serve national and international clients from offices in Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Sacramento, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. It has an excellent reputation in complex litigation, regulatory and transactional work, with its 650-plus lawyers building collaborative relationships and crafting creative solutions – all designed and executed to meet clients' long-term strategic goals.