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Sidley Austin LLP Receives LACBA’s First Annual Pro Bono Services Award

In January, 2017, LACBA partnered with the County of Los Angeles to create the first appointed counsel system in the United States to provide ancillary resources for attorneys who represent indigent youth charged with crimes in Los Angeles. 

Notwithstanding recognition by the ABA as one of three exemplary defense programs in the United States in 2018, because of the novel approach to providing legal services, a Los Angeles judicial officer refused to appoint attorneys from LACBA’s program.

Sidley Austin attorneys – Doug Axel, Anand Singh, Nisha Chandran and Sean Collins – stepped forward to assist LACBA on a pro-bono basis, ultimately resulting in a writ of mandate from the court of appeal, ordering the judicial officer to appoint attorneys from our program.  This effort required thousands of pages of motions and writs and the equivalent of over $800,000 in legal services. 

Most important, Sidley’s willingness to assist our program demonstrates a clear commitment to high quality criminal defense, regardless of a families’ ability to pay. Sidley’s hard word not only benefitted LACBA, but preserved the due process rights of thousands of youth who might otherwise not have received high quality, resourced public defense services from LACBA’s appointed counsel program.