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Super Lawyers Honors California Western with National Pro Bono Award

Super Lawyers California Innocence Project Pro Bono Award

Super Lawyers magazine recently honored the California Innocence Project at California Western School of Law as a recipient of its 2014 Super Lawyers Pro Bono Awards, one of only two law school programs recognized.

“The Pro Bono Awards recognize individual lawyers, law firms, law students, law schools, and other institutions in the legal profession across the country that were involved in significant pro bono efforts during 2014,” according to Super Lawyers.

“The work of the California Innocence Project expands far beyond the walls of our campus,” says Niels B. Schaumann, president and dean of California Western. “Through their pro bono service, project attorneys and students can change the course of history for California families, righting wrongs and reuniting parents and children, husbands and wives.”

In recognizing the California Innocence Project, Super Lawyers pointed to the approximately 7,280 hours of pro bono work done by the lawyers and students in the clinic to free two wrongfully convicted prisoners during 2014, including Michael Hanline, who served 36 years in a California prison for a murder he did not commit.

The clinic was also acknowledged for its co-sponsorship of SB 980, a new California law that provides prisoners with improved access to DNA testing.

“I am honored by this recognition of the California Innocence Project,” says Justin P. Brooks, director of the California Innocence Project. “I have an amazing team that has done some great work over the past 16 years. We all share in this honor.”

The work of the California Innocence Project is entirely pro bono. The project reviews more than 2,000 claims of innocence from California prison inmates annually. From these cases, the project actively litigates between 40-50 cases each year in an effort to secure the release of the innocent. In the past year, the California Innocence Project has continued its work representing indigent individuals in California’s prison population who are claiming innocence of their crimes.

California Western has received other awards for its pro bono work, including the President’s 2014 Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction. Professor Linda H. Morton was named the 2011 Father Robert Drinan Award recipient for developing the culture of pro bono service at the law school, and Professor Kenneth S. Klein was presented with the California State Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award in 2008.

About Super Lawyers
Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations, and peer evaluations.

Super Lawyers magazine features the list and profiles of selected attorneys and is distributed to attorneys in the state or region and ABA-accredited law school libraries. Super Lawyers is also published as a special section in leading city and regional magazines across the country.