January 18, 2016
Weil has been named to The National Law Journal’s 2016 Pro Bono Hot List for its success in several major pro bono initiatives in 2015, ranging from assisting Syrian refugees in Europe to exonerating an innocent prisoner on death row in Alabama and achieving a settlement that will effectively end long-term solitary confinement in California. Weil is one of ten firms in the U.S. named to the list.
In its profile of Weil’s pro bono efforts, The National Law Journal focused on Weil’s success in the landmark settlement to end indefinite, long-term solitary confinement in California prisons. With the Firm as co-counsel with the Center for Constitutional Rights and others in the federal class action, litigation partner Anne Cappella led a Weil team that ultimately included 75 colleagues and dedicated more than 5,000 hours over several years. Ms. Cappella discussed the approach the firm took as including plaintiff inmates as much as possible in shaping briefs and arguments saying, "We were doing this for the prisoners, and we wanted them to have a lot of input."
Weil took on the matter in 2012 after being contacted by the Center for Constitutional Rights, with whom the Firm has co-counseled on several other matters. Anne Cappella noted that when Weil took on the issue, it "really wasn't on the radar. It hadn't hit the hearts and minds of the public.” She added, "We looked at how to do it, not whether to do it. We realized this was going to be a big case." Read more details on Ashker v. Governor of California.
Ms. Cappella said she hopes the changes achieved will serve as a model for other states. Read more of the profile (may require subscription).