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May 16, 2022

Prominent Author and Professor Michele Goodwin will be the Keynote Speaker at Awards Event

LOS ANGELES — Law firms that co-counsel cases pro bono with the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California are truly advocates for justice. 

“Attorneys and support staff at these firms devote thousands of hours of work, at no cost to the ACLU SoCal, on cases to map out legal strategies, formulate court documents, and provide other critical means of support,” said Hector Villagra, executive director of the ACLU SoCal. 

“We are enormously grateful for their partnership in our mission to bring cases to further civil rights and civil liberties.” 

Today, the ACLU SoCal announces its 2022 Advocates For Justice awards to honor firms and individuals for their work and dedication on cases in the last year. Additionally, the plaintiffs in the longstanding Fazaga v. FBI case will be receiving an award.

The awards will be presented at a reception on June 2, at which the keynote speaker will be award-wining author and advocate Michele Goodwin, whose books include “Policing the Womb: Invisible Women and the Criminalization of Motherhood” and “Baby Markets: Money and the New Politics of Creating Families.” Goodwin is a professor at UC Irvine’s School of Law and was recently elected as the ACLU SoCal Foundation’s board chair.  

The awards:

Yasser AbdelRahim, Sheikh Yassir Fazaga, and Ali Malik will receive the Advocate for Justice Award for their courage and tenacity as plaintiffs in a landmark case — heard at the U.S. Supreme Court this year — challenging the FBI’s secret spying on them and their Muslim communities solely because of their religion.  

Legal Aid At Work, which provides no-cost legal aid to clients, will receive the Gender Justice Award for its tireless policy work, including on Atkinson v. AECOM, brought on behalf of a woman who suffered discrimination as well as crude sexual harassment when she advocated for her lawful lactation rights on the job.  

Lindsay Battles, Barry Litt, and the law firm McLane, Bednarski + Litt LLP will receive the Immigrant Justice Award for their work on Roy v. County of Los Angeles, a case that forced a change in the way the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement agencies nationwide collaborated with federal immigration agents. 

Munger, Tolles & Olson, LLP will receive the A.L. Wirin Pro Bono Award, named for the first full-time attorney for the ACLU, whose civil justice work was not curtailed even when he was physically beaten. MTO has been a fervent, extraordinary partner with our legal team, sharing expertise and work on numerous prominent cases involving police practices, immigrants’ rights, criminal justice, religious freedom, and more.

Jacob Kreilkamp, an attorney with Munger, Tolles & Olson, LLP, will receive the Advocate for Justice award for being a stalwart champion of the ACLU SoCal’s mission and a mentor to other MTO lawyers, often on complex, urgent cases.