DV LEAP, a Washington, DC-based not-for-profit organization that strives to afford domestic violence victims and their children greater access to the appellate court system, has recognized Pillsbury with its 2016 Leap for Justice award. The firm was honored for its many contributions to DV LEAP’s mission at a special event on June 16.

Since 2015, Pillsbury has given more than 1,350 pro bono hours to DV LEAP to protect the rights and lives of domestic abuse victims. The firm has filed amicus briefs in federal appeals and Supreme Court cases, and is currently working to pass important new legislation in Congress. Some of the firm’s major pro bono undertakings in conjunction with DV LEAP include:

  • Filing an amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court in Voisine, in which DV LEAP advocated to keep guns out of the hands of those convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence (Christine Scheuneman, Kevin Fong, Julia Judish, Jessica Bogo, Ryan Vanderford and James Chang)
  • Filing an amicus brief on behalf of DV LEAP before the en banc DC Court of Appeals in Carrell, which addresses the standard at which a threat becomes a crime (Bruce Ericson, Julia Judish, Christine Scheuneman, Kristen Baker, Stephen Asay and Adya Baker)
  • Helping DV LEAP advocate in Congress to draft and pass legislation that amends the federal threat statute that was at issue in Elonis (Craig Saperstein and Aimee Ghosh)
  • Advancing DV LEAP's push for Congressional adoption of our Concurrent Resolution on "Safety First for At-Risk Children in Court" (The Hon. Greg Laughlin, Craig Saperstein, Brendan Hennessey and Chris Leuchten)


Regarding its partnership with Pillsbury, the organization notes that “rarely has a new pro bono partner engaged in DV LEAP’s work as enthusiastically as Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. The firm began working with DV LEAP in 2015 and immediately took on some of our most challenging cases, devoting by far the most pro bono hours that year (more than 800)... The firm has long shown a commitment to women’s issues and DV LEAP is grateful to have forged a strong relationship over the past year and a half with attorneys in the DC, San Francisco and Los Angeles offices, working on high impact litigation and legislation that will make a difference in the lives of many victims of domestic violence and their children.”

DV LEAP—the Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project—was founded in 2003 to protect domestic violence victims and their children, with a particular focus on the process of appealing unjust trial court outcomes. Relatively few victims of abuse are able to access the appellate courts, whether due to high monetary costs or the limited number of lawyers who possess the requisite expertise. Through staunch advocacy, training, and strategic assistance to lawyers, courts and other professionals, DV Leap provides a stronger voice for justice. For more information, visit www.dvleap.org.