In recognition of the firm’s work on pro bono cases concerning the US Census, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCR) recently honored Latham & Watkins with its 2020 Robert F. Mullen Pro Bono Award. This award recognizes “a law firm that has provided extraordinary pro bono legal services on behalf of Lawyers' Committee client or matter.”
Together with LCCR and other civil rights groups, our lawyers are litigating to ensure a fair and accurate US Census. As mandated by the Constitution, the federal government must count the number of people in the United States once every 10 years. The resulting data is used to ensure the fair distribution of billions of dollars in federal funding, ranging from hospitals to highways to higher education. Our joint fight for a fair 2020 Census involved litigating on two important issues related to the accuracy of the Census count, including combatting an attempt to undermine and curtail the Census Bureau’s ability to complete a precise count in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Our firm stepped in to keep the count going, during a blistering four-week period involving dozens of briefs and hearings. As a result of this litigation, millions more Americans were able to be counted.
Our lawyers are also involved with LCCR, civil rights groups, and administrative groups in a second case challenging an Executive Order excluding undocumented immigrants, using unspecified methods, from the apportionment of federal funds and seats in Congress. Not only does this order undermine the usefulness and correctness of the census, but it also runs the risk of dramatically undercounting non-English speakers, racial and ethnic minorities, and undocumented persons. This fight has now reached the US Supreme Court.
“We were lucky to have have Latham & Watkins to fight with us shoulder to shoulder, and to make real and effective change,” said Ezra Rosenberg, Co-Director of the Voting Rights Project at LCCR, as he presented the pro bono firm of the year award to Latham partners Sadik Huseny and Melissa Arbus Sherry during a virtual ceremony. “I’ve not seen a firm work under such extreme pressure so expertly and so creatively and so collegially.”
The team fighting to ensure an accurate count reflects the depth and capabilities of Latham’s deep litigation expertise, and is a mix of individuals across all practice groups and specialties. The team includes partners Sadik Huseny, Melissa Arbus Sherry, Steve Bauer, Rick Bress, and Anne Robinson, with associates Amit Makker, Shannon Lankenau, Tyce Walters, Gemma Donofrio, Katherine Rouse, Christine Smith, Charlie Sprague, Wesley Tiu, Jack Siddoway, Robbie Hemstreet, Liz Gluzman, and Greg Conyers, paralegals Uche Anikwe, Karen Patterson, Karin Sanders, and Monique Handy-Jones, and phenomenal and back-breaking support from Linda Tam, Andrea Casalett, Wendy Edwards, Ida Caridad, Katey White, Rob Utley, and many more — on insane turnarounds.
In addition to the firm award, Sadik was recognized as LCCR’s ‘Best New Board Member of 2020.’