NLADA To Salute Legal Heroes At Its Inaugural Virtual Gala

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Release Date: 
Thursday, September 10, 2020

For Immediate Release

Contact: Sharon Singh, [email protected]; @NLADA


NLADA To Salute Legal Heroes At Its Inaugural Virtual Gala

Honorees Include Entergy Corporation’s General Counsel, Law Firms Providing Pro Bono Services at the Border and Civil Legal Aid and Public Defense Attorneys


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) in Washington, D.C. will host their 2020 Exemplar Award Virtual Gala on September 16. The gala will feature a digital cocktail reception, social justice art auction with many of the pieces provided by incarcerated artists and celebration of the Exemplar, Beacon of Justice and Kutak-Dodds awardees.

“The pandemic will not stop us from honoring the awardees and celebrating the resilience of our community,” said Jo-Ann Wallace, president and CEO of NLADA. “Indeed, during times of crisis it is even more important to recognize the tremendous efforts of these heroes on the frontlines.”

The 2020 Exemplar Award winner is Marcus V. Brown, executive vice president and general counsel at Entergy Corporation. Marcus has increased Entergy’s commitment to equal justice and pro bono excellence. He has led the company to hire a full-time pro bono counsel, engage in partnerships with local clinics, provide legal services to low-income individuals and represent non-profit organizations.

This year, the Beacon of Justice Award is awarded to law firms with pro bono programs for their extraordinary commitment to helping vulnerable individuals with family separation, detention and immigration proceedings on the U.S. border. This year’s honorees are Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Arent Fox LLP, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, DLA Piper LLP (US), Dorsey & Whitney LLP, Epstein Becker Green, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Katten, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Lowenstein Sandler, Mintz, Morrison Foerster, O’Melveny & Myers LLP, Orrick, Ropes & Gray LLP, Steptoe & Johnson LLP and Stinson.

The Kutak-Dodds Prize winners are two attorneys who, through the practice of law, have significantly improved the quality of life of those unable to afford legal representation. This year’s honorees are Jennifer Bias, the Wisconsin State Public Defenders Trial Division Director and Adeola Ogunkeyede, the former director of Legal Aid Justice Center’s (LAJC) Civil Rights and Racial Justice Program (CRRJ). Ms. Ogunkeyede is now the Chief Public Defender for Travis County, Texas. Both women have used their leadership positions and passion for advocacy to dismantle injustice and reform the criminal and civil legal systems.

“Whether dedicating their efforts through a civil legal aid or public defense office or through pro bono work, all of these honorees have made proven a commitment to equal justice, especially during these unsettling and challenging times,” said Wallace. “To all our honorees: your work has not gone unnoticed. We thank you.”


The National Legal Aid & Defender Association, founded in 1911, is America’s oldest and largest nonprofit associatin devoted to excellence in the delivery of legal services to those who cannot afford counsel. NLADA has pioneered access to justice at the national, state and local levels through the creation of our public defender systems and other important institutions from The Sentencing Project to the Legal Services Corporation. A leader in the development of national standards for civil legal aid and public defense, NLADA also provides advocacy, training and technical assistance for equal justice advocates across the country.