Goodwin Procter announced that Kenneth J. Parsigian, a partner in the firm's Litigation Department and chair of its Pro Bono Committee, was honored by the American Bar Association with the John Minor Wisdom Public Service and Professionalism Award, which he received on May 1 at a ceremony in Atlanta. Mr. Parsigian was chosen for that honor based on his efforts on scores of pro bono cases, culminating last year in the successful release of an Ohio inmate, a Briton Kenneth Richey, who had been on death row for 22 years, coming within a few days of execution.
The ABA also noted Mr. Parsigian's work with lawyers from Gay & Lesbian Advocate & Defenders (GLAD) in convincing the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to find that same sex couples have a constitutional right to marry and in fending off challenges to that ruling, both in the courts and the Legislature.
"We are proud that the ABA has chosen Ken for this very prestigious award," said Regina M. Pisa, chairman and managing partner of Goodwin Procter. "He is a long-time vocal advocate for pro bono, speaking about his own personal experiences on these matters and the importance of this work. His enthusiasm is infectious; for the associates in particular, it is very beneficial to have a respected partner speak about how pro bono is supported at the firm, and how rewarding the work can be."
He is a recipient of Goodwin Procter's Robert B. Fraser Pro Bono Award, given annually to lawyers who have done outstanding pro bono work and have made a special contribution to the establishment or expansion of the firm's pro bono activities.
In 2008 he was awarded the Boston University Law 2008 Pro Bono Alumni Award for his dedication to pro bono work and for his success in obtaining Kenneth Richey's freedom.
Mr. Parsigian's current pro bono work includes working with the Youth Advocacy Project to protect the right of Massachusetts juveniles to have trained, court-appointed counsel in all detention hearings, representing women inmates in a class action against the prison system for substandard treatment, and supervising teams of young lawyers in representing immigrants seeking political asylum in the U.S. to avoid persecution and torture in their native countries.
To read an interview with Mr. Parsigian, please refer to page 42 of this publication.