NEW YORK – Jan. 12, 2021 – Global law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP’s Social Justice Action Academy will continue its “Courageous Conversation” webinar series with a program focused on the social issue of criminal justice reform as it relates to wrongful convictions and rehabilitation of the incarcerated. The goal is to educate and empower the audience with ideas for tangible steps they can take through legal pro bono work and more to create a lasting impact.
The webinar, “Taking Action on Criminal Justice Reform,” will be held Jan. 14, 3:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. ET. The President/CEO of Unincarcerated Minds, Inc. Bobby Harris; Firm Government Law & Policy Shareholder Karen M. Kennard; and Shareholder and Greenberg Traurig Global Pro Bono Program Chair Caroline Heller will spearhead the discussion. Firm Shareholder and Chief Diversity Officer Nikki Lewis Simon will moderate.
“Criminal justice reform is not just a legal issue, it’s a human rights issue,” Simon said. “It is our hope that through this timely conversation about criminal justice reform – where we will share personal stories as well as information about resources, tools, and services – that people will feel equipped and empowered to take action and make a difference.”
The Social Justice Action Academy, a key element of the firm’s Social, Racial, Economic Justice Plan, aims to educate on matters of race, justice, and equity; facilitate and encourage conversations about these topics, and drive forward meaningful change consistent with the goals of the action plan.
This webinar follows a recent “Courageous Conversation” hosted by Greenberg Traurig, where Kennard bravely shared her family’s experience with the criminal justice system. Her oldest brother, Tim Cole, was wrongly convicted of a crime and died in prison in 1999, at the age of 39. After DNA testing proved his innocence, Cole became the first person in Texas to receive a posthumous exoneration and posthumous pardon. The Texas exoneration compensation system and the Texas Innocence Commission are named in his honor.
Harris heads Unincarcerated Minds Inc., a non-profit organization that provides returning citizens and citizens from marginalized communities in the Philadelphia area with life sustaining resources. Harris spent 29 years in prison and was sentenced to life imprisonment at the age of 15. He was released after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the sentence illegal.
Kennard, based in the firm’s Austin, TX office, focuses her practice on government law, policy and regulatory matters with an emphasis on municipal local government issues. Her experience spans more than two decades and includes positions as City Attorney for a large city and General Counsel for the largest municipal league in the country.
Heller is a shareholder in the Litigation Practice of the firm’s New York office. She focuses her practice on complex commercial litigation and business disputes on a nationwide basis in the fields of professional liability, partnership disputes, securities litigation and entertainment disputes. In her role as Chair of the firm’s Global Pro Bono Program, Heller leads several initiatives addressing the need for access to justice for the most vulnerable of citizens, including children.
Simon, a commercial litigator based in the firm’s Miami office, has more than 21 years of experience as an attorney. In her capacity as Greenberg Traurig’s Chief Diversity Officer, Simon designs and guides strategic initiatives and programs to deepen firmwide diversity and inclusion efforts that further enrich client engagements and community investments. Her role is indicative of, and integral to, Greenberg Traurig’s core values of collaboration and inclusion.
About Greenberg Traurig’s Diversity Initiative: From its inception, Greenberg Traurig has been committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Greenberg Traurig is a uniquely empowering and diverse firm built on a foundation of fairness, equality, and authenticity. Through its Social, Racial, and Economic Justice Action Plan, the firm has committed $5 million over five years to help combat systemic racism and support impoverished communities. In addition, the firm’s efforts have been recognized through its Mansfield Rule 3.0 Certification, administered by The Diversity Lab, and by local, national, and global publications and organizations including Chambers and Partners. Web: DRIVES Twitter: @GT_Drives
About Greenberg Traurig’s Pro Bono Program: Greenberg Traurig lawyers across the firm’s offices provide pro bono legal services to the indigent and working poor, as well as to numerous civic and charitable organizations dedicated to assisting them. The firm focuses its resources on specialized and interrelated issues including civil rights and affirmative action, anti-human trafficking, family law matters, children’s rights, criminal appeals, immigration and political asylum, housing, and homelessness.
About Greenberg Traurig: Greenberg Traurig, LLP (GT), has approximately 2200 attorneys in 40 locations in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. GT has been recognized for its philanthropic giving, diversity, and innovation, and is consistently among the largest firms in the U.S. on the Law360 400 and among the Top 20 on the Am Law Global 100. The firm is net carbon neutral with respect to its office energy usage and Mansfield Rule 3.0 Certified. Web: www.gtlaw.com