Press Release

Marjorie Peerce Wins 2015 NYSBA President’s Pro Bono Service Award

May 5, 2015

Ballard Spahr partner Marjorie J. Peerce was honored today by the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) with its 2015 President’s Pro Bono Service Award for the First Judicial District (Manhattan). The award recognizes legal professionals whose pro bono work has greatly expanded equal access to justice for the most vulnerable members of our communities.

Ms. Peerce is being honored for her work on the Clemency Project 2014. She was a member of the working group that created the program, which screens federal prison inmates for eligibility to apply for clemency. It focuses on nonviolent offenders who have served at least 10 years in prison after being sentenced under harsh mandatory sentencing guidelines that are no longer in use.

Ms. Peerce helped lead the program, developing training materials, navigating thorny ethical issues, and mentoring volunteer lawyers. She is also a member of its screening and steering committees. More than 1,500 attorneys across the country have volunteered to screen applicants and prepare clemency petitions for more than 30,000 inmates.

“Margie has been critical to the implementation of the program,” said Mary Gay Scanlon, Pro Bono Counsel at Ballard Spahr. “At our firm alone, she has inspired more than 80 lawyers to volunteer. They have already filed one formal clemency petition and undertaken screening for 45 other applicants.”

NYSBA recognizes only one lawyer for each of the state’s 13 districts each year at the ceremony, held at the State Bar Center in Albany, NY. Nominees are selected based on pro bono service donated during the previous year. The committee considers number of clients served, number of hours contributed, impact of the service on clients, and the impact of the service on a pro bono program or community.

Ms. Peerce is a litigator, with a practice focus on white collar criminal defense, regulatory matters, and complex civil litigation. She is the Co-Chair of the Sentencing Committee of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and past President of the New York Council of Defense Lawyers, an organization composed of 240 of New York's preeminent white collar defense lawyers.

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