American Bar Association Honors Neil Steiner with Top Pro Bono Award

May 20, 2020

New York litigator Neil Steiner has been recognized with the Pro Bono Publico Award by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service. The ABA describes the Pro Bono Publico Awards as its “top honor” for extraordinary and sustained commitment to pro bono service.

Steiner, a partner in Dechert’s Trial, Investigations & Securities group and a trustee of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, has become a national trailblazer for protecting the rights of marginalized individuals to exercise one of their most basic freedoms—the right to vote.

For nearly 15 years, Steiner has led pro bono teams at Dechert in challenging voting restrictions in ten states, including trials in federal courts in Wisconsin, Kansas, Texas and New York and appeals in two additional cases in Ohio and Nevada. The issues ranged from the failure to offer voter registration at public assistance agencies to the imposition of voter identification and documentary proof of citizenship to the partisan election of state appellate judges.

The defeat of Kansas’ law requiring documentary proof of citizenship to register to vote was described as “the most important voting rights trial so far of the 21st century” by prominent election law scholar Rick Hasen and received a “standout” ranking by the Financial Times in its 2018 North American Innovative Lawyer Awards. Steiner is currently working to ensure safe access to the ballot in several states in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Through this work, Steiner has also nurtured dozens of young lawyers at Dechert, inspiring some to join the firm expressly to help further its commitment to voting rights issues and providing meaningful trial experience to the next generation of lawyers.

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