McDermott Named 2021 Champion of Justice by Ascend Justice
International law firm McDermott Will & Emery is thrilled to announce that our team was selected to receive Ascend Justice’s 2021 Champions of Justice award. The award recognizes more than a decade of work with the Family Defense Center, which became Ascend Justice following a merger with the Domestic Violence Legal Clinic.
“We have been so grateful for McDermott’s support over the years, especially their pro bono contributions to our family defense practice, and we think it’s time to share that gratitude publicly,” said Margaret Duval, executive director of Ascend Justice. “We have consistently been impressed with the level of skill and commitment McDermott lawyers bring to their work.”
Ascend Justice, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization, uses legal advocacy and system reform to empower people whose lives have been affected by domestic violence. McDermott partners with them to provide free legal representation for families who have been wrongly accused of abuse or neglect by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). McDermott litigation partner Michael Weaver facilitates the pro bono relationship, having sat on the organization’s board for eight years and served as president for four years.
“This work and this organization are close to my heart,” Michael said. “As a Firm, pro bono work and community service are part of our DNA, and it’s an honor to receive the Champions of Justice award recognizing that commitment. We look forward to continuing our productive partnership with Ascend Justice in the future.”
Through the Firm’s partnership with Ascend Justice over the last 13 years, more than 90 of our lawyers have collectively dedicated in excess of 7,000 hours to helping individuals and families navigate the DCFS process. The Firm’s many contributions to Ascend Justice come from lawyers across its practices, including litigation, private client, employee benefits and employment, who consistently provide direct pro bono legal services. This past year, employment partner Carole Spink contributed to Ascend Justice’s operational response to COVID-19. The Firm also make annual financial donations to the organization.
McDermott Will & Emery partners with leaders around the world to fuel missions, knock down barriers and shape markets. Our team works seamlessly across practices and industries to deliver highly effective—and often unexpected—solutions that propel success. More than 1,200 lawyers strong, we bring our personal passion and legal prowess to bear in every matter for our clients and the people they serve.