April 6, 2017 – The National Law Journal has selected McDermott Will & Emery to its 2017 Pro Bono Hot List. The McDermott team, led by partner Amandeep Sidhu, was recognized for its pro bono work on behalf of Sikh Americans seeking to serve in the US Armed Forces while maintaining their articles of faith.
For eight years, the team at McDermott Will & Emery has worked with the Sikh Coalition and Becket Law to advocate on behalf of Sikh Americans who sought the ability to serve their country while remaining true to their faith – which mandates they keep unshorn beards and unshorn hair wrapped inside a turban.
In 2016, McDermott and its pro bono partners successfully filed two lawsuits against the Army for Sikh American soldiers in the US District Court for the District of Columbia that resulted in the Army amending its policy and issuing updated rules governing religious liberty. The Army’s new rules represent the most significant step forward for religious accommodation in the US Armed Forces in more than 30 years and significantly improve the standards for Sikhs and other religious minorities looking to serve their country.
In the National Law Journal’s profile, Mr. Sidhu, who is also a co-founder of the Sikh Coalition, praised firm leadership for supporting the team’s pro bono efforts. “It was really gratifying to me to have a firm where the leadership embraced this,” said Mr. Sidhu.
In addition to Mr. Sidhu, the McDermott team included Guy Collier, Stephen Ryan, David Ransom, Daniel Alberti, Emre Ilter, Kate McDonald, Jennifer Routh, David Roller and Jiayan Chen.
The team’s success was shared with all faiths, as their work on behalf of Sikh Americans helped prompt the Army to revise its policy to broadly include the religious observations of devoted Muslims, Jews, Christians and other soldiers.
To read the full McDermott profile in the “Pro Bono Hot List,” please click here.
About McDermott’s Commitment to Pro Bono Work
McDermott Will & Emery offers a comprehensive pro bono and community service program managed and led by its full-time pro bono counsel and the chair of our Pro Bono & Community Service Committee, which seeks to ensure that the same standards of quality, service and care that McDermott gives to its paying clients are also afforded to those it serves on a pro bono basis. The firm strongly encourages its lawyers and staff to participate in pro bono initiatives, volunteer services and charitable activities, and it recognizes lawyer time dedicated to pro bono and community service as equivalent to billable hours for all purposes.