Latham & Watkins partner Abid R. Qureshi was named among the Top 10 Legal Practitioners of 2020, and firm efforts to advance virtual attorney development programs and to win a landmark social justice case were recognized, in the annual Financial Times North American Innovative Lawyers report.
Qureshi, a Washington, D.C. partner in the Complex Commercial Litigation Practice, was cited in a published profile for his many firm leadership roles, particularly his recent efforts as Global Chair of Latham’s Recruiting Committee to spearhead a transition to virtual training within the firm’s attorney development programs.
Those training initiatives were also featured in the report’s focus on Rethinking the Workplace, which recognized law firm programs that “stood out for finding innovative channels to train, support and communicate with employee and clients.” The FT report explained: “The firm launched a virtual training academy for summer associates and lawyers. It included a training week for more than 200 summer associates from around the world, and training for employees on topics such as virtual depositions, online presentations and effective remote supervision. Since March, Latham & Watkins lawyers have dedicated more than 8,000 hours to training programmes and academies, and have taken part in about 1,100 hours of mentoring sessions.” The report also called out an online observation deck developed so that young attorneys could watch the court proceedings of more experienced Latham lawyers.
In addition, a Latham pro bono team was commended in the report’s Social Justice and Rule of Law category for a May 2020 trial victory in New York federal court on behalf of the Spring Valley National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in a hotly contested case seeking to restore and protect the vote of minority citizens in Rockland County, New York. The Financial Times reported that the victory “will force the East Ramapo Central School District in New York to change its voting method. The district’s at-large voting method meant school board members are elected by all voters in the district, rather than each neighbourhood being represented by its own board member, effectively blocking black and Hispanic voters’ preferred candidates. In the district, 92 per cent of public school children are black or Hispanic, while 98 per cent of private school students are white; the majority white board members were making decisions that favoured private schools.”
Latham’s cumulative score placed the firm eight this year among law firms in North America deemed Most Rounded Performers for taking “the most robust, resilient and responsible approach to their businesses in 2020,” according to the FT. In last year’s report, Latham earned the award for Most Innovative Law Firm for the Business of Law.