NLADA Announces 2014 Beacon of Justice Award Winners

Innovative law firms to be honored at the Exemplar Award Dinner in June

Washington, D.C., May 20, 2014 - The National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA) is honored to announce the 2014 Beacon of Justice Award winners. The exceptional law firms listed below have all devoted significant time and resources to creating and implementing innovative strategies to improve life outcomes for low income individuals.

Each winner has been carefully selected by criteria assessing increased access to representation through the utilization of groundbreaking and original ideas, tools, and technology to create new delivery models and initiatives. These outstanding law firms are advancing policies and practices that provide pathways to justice and opportunity, while also enhancing the representation provided to clients. A small sample of these successes includes the resourceful use of online services in remote areas to provide legal aid or connect with pro bono attorneys; the investment of time and services in pro bono legal clinics for families, non-profits and small businesses in impoverished communities; and the dedication of tens of thousands of pro bono hours to ensure that individuals have access to competent counsel and fair treatment under the law.

The critical value of this work was articulated by one award winner, who stated, “hope” is transformative and “access to justice is vital to the rule of law, a premise that is of the utmost importance to the legal profession in our society.”

The full list of 2014 Beacon of Justice winners is as follows:

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC
Briggs and Morgan, P.A.
Callister Nebeker & McCullough
Cook, Yancey, King & Galloway 
Dechert LLP
DLA Piper
Fenwick & West LLP
Friday, Eldredge & Clark, LLP
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
Kaye Scholer LLP
Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Locke Lord LLP
Lowenstein Sandler LLP
Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C.
O'Melveny & Myers LLP
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
Quarles & Brady LLP
Robins, Kaplan, Miller, Ciresi L.L.P.
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
Stinson Leonard Street LLP
Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

The Beacon of Justice Award winners will be formally honored at the NLADA Exemplar Award Dinner on Thursday, June 26, 2014, at The Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in Washington D.C.  The ceremony will also feature the presentation of the Exemplar Award to Bruce N. Kuhlik, executive vice president and general counsel of Merck & Co. Inc., and the Kutak-Dodds prizes to Ellen Katz, litigation/executive director at the William E. Morris Institute for Justice and Edward Ungvarsky, capital defender at the Office of the Capital Defender for Northern Virginia.  For ticket and sponsorship information, please visit  

Founded in 1911, NLADA is America's oldest and largest nonprofit association devoted to ensuring excellence in the delivery of legal services to those who cannot afford counsel. For 100 years, NLADA has pioneered access to justice at the national, state and local levels through the creation of many of the first public defense systems in the country, creation of the concept of a national center to protect the right to counsel, development of nationally applicable standards for legal representation, and groundbreaking legal legislation. NLADA serves as the collective voice for our country's civil legal aid and public defender services and provides advocacy, training, and technical assistance. For more information, visit

Events and Training