Wilkinson Stekloff Wins Qualified Immunity Appeal in the Eleventh Circuit

Washington, D.C. – Wilkinson Stekloff associate Xiao Wang secured another significant pro bono appellate win in the Eleventh Circuit, representing Joshua Dickinson, an individual who was violently assaulted while detained in an Alabama jail following an argument with a family member. The Eleventh Circuit concluded that Mr. Dickinson could continue his lawsuit to vindicate his civil rights. Xiao, along with supervising partner Jeremy Barber, argued on appeal that the district court had correctly allowed Mr. Dickinson’s suit to proceed. Wilkinson Stekloff’s briefing highlighted the unjust and unsafe conditions of the Mobile County Metro Jail, including the information and multiple warnings the County Sheriff and Jail Warden had received prior to the unfortunate event.  The Eleventh Circuit agreed that the Sheriff and Warden were not entitled to qualified immunity, deciding to interpret narrowly a prior opinion that had applied an expansive reading to qualified immunity.   “The jail failed to address multiple …

Wilkinson Stekloff Wins Groundbreaking Sentencing Appeal

Washington, D.C. – Wilkinson Stekloff associate Xiao Wang secured a significant pro bono win in the Sixth Circuit, convincing the court to vacate Manndrell Evann Lee’s 60-month sentence as substantively unreasonable.  Xiao had been appointed to represent Mr. Lee as a member of the Sixth Circuit’s Criminal Justice Act panel.   Xiao and partner James Rosenthal argued on appeal that the district court had failed to give sufficient reasons for Mr. Lee’s above-guidelines prison term. The Sixth Circuit agreed and reversed the district court’s decision in a published opinion which established that there must be a “meaningful relationship between the offense of conviction and the defendant’s alleged likelihood of reoffending.” The court further held that there was no such meaningful relationship as to Mr. Lee and vacated his 60-month sentence. The case is now set for resentencing in December 2020.     “We are thrilled with the court’s opinion,” said Wilkinson Stekloff associate …

Wilkinson Stekloff Featured in Law360 Pro Bono Spotlight for Federal Class Action Settlement

Washington, D.C. – Wilkinson Stekloff was featured in Law360’s pro bono spotlight for its lead role in securing a landmark deal in a federal class action lawsuit over health care for people incarcerated in Missouri.   The settlement, which was finalized by the judge on October 29, mandates the state of Missouri and Corizon LLC to spend approximately $50 million over eight years to provide life-saving hepatitis C drugs to people incarcerated in the Missouri Department of Corrections. The deal also includes training for prison medical staff, an updated testing regime, and regular patient monitoring. Wilkinson Stekloff associate Betsy Henthorne told Law360 that an August 2019 preliminary injunction hearing in the case had been encouraging and was a big step towards the ultimate settlement: “Coming out of the preliminary injunction hearing we felt good about both what we showed the defendants we could do in the courtroom and what they would …

Wilkinson Stekloff Shortlisted for Chambers Diversity & Inclusion Awards: North America 2020

Firm Recognized for Pro Bono Program and for Furthering Diversity and Inclusion WASHINGTON — Chambers and Partners recognized Wilkinson Stekloff as an outstanding firm for diversity and inclusion and as one of its private practice pro bono programs of the year. This is the second year in a row that Chambers and Partners has recognized Wilkinson Stekloff’s acclaimed pro bono program. Now a 39-lawyer, majority-women-owned powerhouse, Wilkinson Stekloff was founded on a commitment to developing the next generation of trial lawyers with a comprehensive focus on diversity and inclusion. Nearly 60 percent of the firm’s lawyers — including both name partners and five of its eleven partners overall — are women. Founding Partner Alexandra Walsh applauded Chambers’ decision, stating, “Since our founding, we have worked hard to create and maintain a diverse and inclusive working environment. Every one of the our trial teams has featured a woman or attorney of …

Wilkinson Stekloff Honored by Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice for Exceptional Pro Bono Advocacy

The Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (LACLJ) recognized Wilkinson Stekloff as its Pro Bono Partner of the Year.  In honoring the firm’s pro bono advocacy on behalf of low-income women who are experiencing domestic violence, LACLJ underscored how Wilkinson Stekloff’s representation “has been vital to these individual clients and has brought safety and security to them and their children.”  Wilkinson Stekloff will receive the award at LACLJ’s 47th Anniversary Awards Gala on May 28, 2020. The award follows the firm’s work in a pro bono legal separation and custody case, which culminated in a four-day trial in L.A. Superior Court in July 2019.  At trial, Wilkinson Stekloff associates Roxana Guidero and Rahul Hari secured a favorable judgment for their client, who was seeking an equitable division of marital assets and primary custody of her children.  Wilkinson Stekloff took on the representation as part of its ongoing partnership with …

Wilkinson Stekloff Celebrates Another Outstanding Year of High Stakes Trials and Accolades for the Next Generation of Trial Lawyers

WASHINGTON –Wilkinson Stekloff enters its fifth year having cemented its status as the premier trial litigation boutique in the country. 2019 featured three high-stakes, high-pressure trials, in which different partners served as lead trial counsel and eight partners in total had stand-up roles. The firm continued to receive accolades for its successes in delivering results to its clients while deepening its diverse bench of go-to litigators.

Wilkinson Stekloff Associates Win Client’s Release in Pro Bono Resentencing Case

Washington, D.C. — Wilkinson Stekloff associates Betsy Henthorne and Hayter Whitman, with assistance from partner Rakesh Kilaru, helped secure the early release of their pro bono client, Momolu Stewart, who had been sentenced to life in prison at the age of 16. Following Wilkinson Stekloff’s successful efforts, Stewart, who is now 39 years old, was released from prison this week.  Under a recent Washington, D.C., law, the Incarceration Reduction Amendment Act (known as “IRAA”), Stewart was eligible to ask the court to reduce his sentence because he was under 18 at the time of the crime and had served more than 15 years in prison. Wilkinson Stekloff successfully argued that Stewart should be resentenced based on, among other factors, the circumstances of his childhood, his accomplishments during his time in prison, and his demonstrated rehabilitation and fitness to society.  “The Wilkinson Stekloff team is honored to stand beside Mr. Stewart …

Wilkinson Stekloff Leads the Way in Legal Aid’s Generous Associates Campaign

WASHINGTON — The Legal Aid Society recently recognized Wilkinson Stekloff for its record-breaking contributions to its Generous Associates Campaign, an annual fundraiser to help support Legal Aid’s efforts representing those most in need. Wilkinson Stekloff raised the most money from firms with 50 attorneys or fewer, and topped the “Per Attorney Giving” competition, raising $1,452 per attorney in the D.C. office. “Our firm is strongly committed to pro bono representation, and we are thrilled to support Legal Aid’s mission to bring fair and equal access to justice for all,” said Wilkinson Stekloff Founding Partner Alex Walsh. “We look forward to continuing to support Legal Aid’s important work representing those most in need.”  The Generous Associates Campaign is an annual fundraiser dating back to 1990. Led by associates at 82 law firms in DC and chaired by an associate co-chair committee, nearly 5,000 attorneys and staff contributed to the Campaign this year. …

Wilkinson Stekloff Secures Victory in Pro Bono Employment Discrimination Case

Washington, D.C. — Wilkinson Stekloff associate Amelia Frenkel helped secure victory in a pro bono case challenging alleged employment discrimination by the U.S. State Department. Frenkel was appointed by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia 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. On behalf of Richard Figueroa, a foreign service officer in the State Department who alleged employment discrimination in promotions, Frenkel and Wilkinson Stekloff partner James Rosenthal successfully argued that the United States District Court for the District of Columbia had misapplied the McDonnell Douglas framework, a three-step process to help employees make their cases for employment discrimination. After “thank[ing] Rosenthal and Frenkel for ably discharging their duties” in court, Circuit Judges Henderson and Wilkins and Senior Circuit Judge Edwards ordered that “the District Court …

Five Wilkinson Stekloff Associates Honored by DC Volunteer Lawyers Project For Exceptional Advocacy

Washington, D.C. – The DC Volunteer Lawyers Project (DCVLP) recently honored five Wilkinson Stekloff associates as DCVLP’s Domestic Relations Branch Volunteers of the Year, recognizing their dedication on behalf of victims of domestic abuse and their children.   The DCVLP honorees were Wilkinson Stekloff associates Hal Brewster, Cali Cope-Kasten, Ash Jamali, Meg Loftus, and Kirsten Nelson. Ash, Meg, and Kirsten were honored for a significant trial victory earlier this year.  Working with DCVLP and under the supervision of partner Jeremy Barber, they prevailed in securing for their pro bono client full physical and legal custody over her two young children.  Wilkinson Stekloff’s client divorced her husband in 2015 after suffering months of domestic abuse. In January 2017, her ex-husband (the plaintiff) filed a lawsuit seeking primary custody of their two children, falsely claiming that she had effectively kidnapped the children when she moved from the District of Columbia to Maryland. At …