Making the Justice System Work for All

Our pro bono program is grounded in our unique obligation to do what we can to guarantee that the doors of justice are open to all. These efforts include advocating on behalf of the wrongly accused, advising on expungement matters, and otherwise assisting those who have been impacted by the criminal justice system. 

This year, a team of London-based lawyers helped secure the exoneration of Andrew Malkinson in a closely watched case in the UK. Mr. Malkinson had been convicted in 2004 for sexual offenses, received a life sentence, and served 17 years in prison. Had he accepted his guilt and shown remorse in prison, he would have been eligible for parole a decade earlier. Years of legal work and DNA testing have now proved that Mr. Malkinson was innocent, as he maintained throughout his arrest, conviction, and prison sentence.

Our firm worked with APPEAL — a UK charity law practice dedicated to combating miscarriages of justice and advocating for reform — to help Mr. Malkinson overturn his conviction. It took parole board applications, judicial reviews, multiple submissions to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), hearings in the Court of Appeal, DNA testing, and incredible determination to secure this outcome.

This case proved to be a catalyst for broader reform in the UK. The Ministry of Justice announced an inquiry into the role of Greater Manchester Police and the CCRC in Mr. Malkinson’s case, in particular regarding the failure to retain and disclose evidence. Mr. Malkinson’s appeal also triggered the reversal of a controversial rule on deductions from awards of compensation for miscarriages of justice. Latham continues to work with APPEAL to challenge additional wrongful convictions — and, in doing so, to improve the way criminal offenses are investigated and prosecuted. This work was shortlisted for the 2024 LexisNexis Law Award for Pro Bono.

"The exoneration of Andrew Malkinson marks one of my proudest days as a lawyer. I will never forget the feeling of seeing justice served."

Mair Williamson, Associate, London

Mr. Malkinson’s case is just one of the many wrongful-conviction cases our lawyers have taken on. Through a partnership with the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, which seeks to exonerate the wrongfully accused in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., Latham lawyers are spearheading a claim that would vacate our innocent client’s conviction if successful. This claim includes presenting exculpatory scientific evidence that counsel failed to marshal at trial, leading to the conviction of a teenager who refused any potential plea deal, had no prior record when he was arrested, and has steadfastly maintained his innocence.

In California, our lawyers have begun advising community college students seeking criminal record expungement through The Access Project’s Rising Scholars Network. Expunging convictions and reducing felonies can help people secure jobs, housing, or professional licenses — assets that might otherwise be denied based on their record. Our lawyers review criminal offenses for expungement eligibility and assist students with drafting the declaration that is required for this discretionary remedy.